Statistics and numbers can be pretty boring. Long lists of numbers or charts showing lots of wavy wiggly lines with no meaning.
But numbers and figures can be made more interesting. It’s all about using the right data visualisation to show the information behind the figures.
For instance Florence Nightingale invented the Polar Area Diagram to highlight the causes of deaths in the Crimean War. She used the diagrams to explain to members of parliament and civil servents why medical care was needed.
Looking at the data behind the diagram above, a heatmap, you’ll find tables and tables of numbers. You could draw umpteen different charts and but they wouldn’t highlight the information about the way births are spread out across the year.
From the heatmap it becomes very easy for the human brain to spot certain patterns. You’ll notice that September is a very popular month for babies to be born. Great information if you sell anything to do with births and babies. And working back 9 months takes you to December. A cold month when everyone is snuggling up and keeping warm and drinking and partying a lot too. It is obviously leading to a lot of hanky panky for young couples.
But can you spot some other patterns in the heatmap? Whats going on on the 13th of every month. What about the gap in the month of July? Bear in mind that the data is taken from America.
Heatmap from Visual News.