Makeover Monday | Week 6 | 2019: How Chinese New Year Compares With Thanksgiving

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One of the fun aspects of #MakeoverMonday is to pick a dataset each week. When I don’t have something obvious in mind or haven’t looked at the ‘backlog’ of options yet, I tend to check the calendar for significant events that we could viz about.

Sure, there is a super bowl going on, but this is my week, not Andy’s so instead of football we’re looking at Chinese New Year’s spending and how it compares to that for Thanksgiving.

Here is the original viz:

What works well:

  • The colors are catching and work well for the theme.
  • Overall it is a simple viz with consistent shapes and design.
  • Each chart has a clear header.
  • The labels are neat and clearly connected to the different parts of each chart.

What could be improved:

  • What currency is the spending in? We can assume US$ but we don’t know for sure.
  • The background image is a bit distracting: it’s visible enough to make me wonder what it is but it’s not obvious enough to stand out clearly.
  • The charts are not helpful: Having the red section behind the dark blue one means I don’t know whether the red is only as large as what’s visible or whether it continues behind the blue. For the spending category: is the red a ring around the blue or a large red circle behind the blue one? Aligning this to the numbers makes it confusing
  • Each chart is the same basic size as the others but they are totally different categories and magnitudes.
  • Population isn’t even mentioned in the chart (it is in the accompanying article) so the numbers essentially aren’t very meaningful. Comparing China (1.3 billion people) and the USA (300million people) on things that are heavily influenced by the population size doesn’t make sense to me.

What I focused on:

  • Putting things into context by including population numbers
  • Creating a simple headline and a short story with a ‘Charlie-esque’ bar chart
  • Sticking to a monochrome color palette in newspaper style
  • Keeping things short and simple for the sake of a weekend away, visiting friends and racing my first half marathon in 11 years :-).


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