Accidentally misleading visualizations

Today I saw a figure posted on Nate Silver’s website that is a good example of an accidentally misleading visualization. The intended point of the chart is that most men in Glamour Magazine have some form of facial hair.

Instead, what immediately comes across is that most men in Glamour Magazine are clean-shaven. The figure forces the reader to first group facial hair categories before it becomes obvious that most men maintain some form of facial hair.

Here are a couple of different approaches I think are better. By listing the facial hair categories first and using color to help the reader group them, figure A requires minimal changes to the original visualization. Figure B groups the facial hair categories to show that clean-shaven is in fact in the minority. Figure C adds color to really emphasize that the comparison is between facial hair and clean-shaven. In figures B and C I think that the numbers are optional.

facial hair-01


1 thought on “Accidentally misleading visualizations”

Comments are closed.