Makeover Monday | Week 16 | 2019

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For this week’s makeover, we’re collaborating with RJ Andrews on his recent book ‘Info We Trust’. RJ gave me a fun word cloud and the data behind the 270 most common word-forms in the book.

Something totally different from what we normally do, but it’s still ‘just data’ so it’s a challenge worth tackling.

Here is the original which RJ managed to produce via voyant-tools:

What works well:

  • It’s engaging and many people are somewhat familiar with word clouds and how to interpret them (larger words mean they’re more signifcant in some way)
  • The most frequently used word – data – does stand out quite clearly
  • It actually shows all 270 words in a very condensed space

What could be improved:

  • Well, there are far too many colors and they don’t seem to have a particular purpose
  • It is not obvious what the viz is about, what the words relate to, etc.
  • There is no title, no subtitle, no description
  • Having words rotated makes them very hard to read
  • Is there a meaning behind the position of each word?

What I focused on:

  • Spending some time exploring the data
  • Finding something interesting beyond word frequency
  • I stumbled across word counts by chapter and noticed something that I was able to tie together into a little story. Yes it requires far more reading than I’d normally request of my audience, but there you go 🙂
  • Click for the interactive version

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