New year, new ideas. This year, I’m launching a “Remakes” [Update May 2021: These are now called “Redesigns“] page to PolicyViz, which will serve as an ongoing repository for data visualizations that I think are in need a makeover. I’ll regularly post simple graphs and data visualizations that I think violate some basic principle (yes, pie charts, I’m looking at you), clearly misrepresent data, or could be improved in some basic way. I won’t necessarily remake all of them, but I’ll do my best.

I don’t view the Remakes as a place to spend lots of time remaking complex graphs or critiquing work at length. And I’m not trying to do a different version of the often-hilarious WTF Visualizations site. The Remakes page serves two purposes for me.

  • One, it ultimately creates a library of remakes and resources for myself and my data visualization students. I have a combination of resources and websites I use to keep track of such things (Twitter, Pinterest, Evernote, etc.), but none work perfectly for me.
  • Two, I’m hoping I can change the content and types of things I post on Twitter. I’d like to be able to write a bit more about graphs that I view need improvement, and to hopefully do so in constructive ways. I fear my posts on Twitter often miss that mark. Launching this page will also enable me to offer different types of content and links on Twitter in which I have interest: for example, more economics, trends in open data, the evolution of Hackathons (or Data Dives, Data Jams; whatever you want to call them), and how government does (or does not) use technology and social media.

This page will differ from my project site, HelpMeViz. HelpMeViz is a space for others to seek advice on feedback for visualizations. Here, I’m sort of taking out my frustrations on what I view as bad data visualization.

I’ll leave the comments box open on the page, so feel free to leave your ideas and responses. Or, hit me up on Twitter.

John Burn-Murdoch Twitter post about a 3D pie chart