Showing uncertainty in a Data Visualisation

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My attention was drawn to the above exhibit by a colleague. It is from the FiveThirtyEight web-site and one of several exhibits included in an analysis of the standing of the two US Presidential hopefuls.

In my earlier piece, Data Visualisation – A Scientific Treatment, I argued for more transparency in showing the inherent variability associated with the numbers spat out by statistical models. My specific call back then was for the use of error bars.

The FiveThirtyEight exhibit deals with this same challenge in a manner which I find elegant, clean and eminently digestible. It contains many different elements of information, but remains an exhibit whose meaning is easy to absorb. It’s an approach I will probably look to leverage myself next time I have a similar need.


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