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The Best and Worst of Statistical Graphics

This Gallery of Data Visualization displays some examples of the Best and Worst of Statistical Graphics, with the view that the contrast may be useful, inform current practice, and provide some pointers to both historical and current work. We go from what is arguably the best statistical graphic ever drawn, to the current record-holder for the worst.

  • Like good writing, good graphical displays of data communicate ideas with clarity, precision, and efficiency.
  • Like poor writing, bad graphical displays distort or obscure the data, make it harder to understand or compare, or otherwise thwart the communicative effect which the graph should convey.
[See the Bad Writing Contest for examples of The Best of Bad Writing. See the ACCENT Principles for effective graphical display.]
Do you know of other examples of the Best or Worst in Statistical Graphics on the Web? Send me an email with the URL and a brief description.

The page is organized as a collection of images, along with a few of the 1000 words each may be worth and some links to original sources. To reduce transmission time, most of the images are presented as thumbnails, with links to larger originals. Click on the thumnail image or on the words "Full size".

Historical milestones The Lie Factor
Bright ideas Goosed-Up Graphics
Graphical Excellence Missed Opportunities
Visual explanation Context: Compared to What?
Visual delights Have Something to Say

Other topics

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