White Space, Turbines, & Biscuits

This week’s MakeoverMonday looked at a chart from howmuch.net that details the installed capacity of wind turbines for each of the US states.

Here’s the original visualisation

It’s a bit busy.

I understand that they’re trying to make the chart look like a wind farm. And in that respect they’ve definitely succeeded, it’s a really eye catching design. However it’s not clear where the data should be read from. The chart is essentially a fancy lollipop chart with the ends of the chart at the centre of turbine blades.

The total investment figures at the bottom of the chart aren’t great. To go from diagonal values (in billions), to vertical, and then to vertical in millions, all whilst changing the font size and weight looks really messy. I don’t think staggering the State abbreviations on the right of the chart work well.

I don’t like being too negative about a chart, but I couldn’t not mention the y-axis scale. It almost looks like it’s logarithmic, but I’m fairly sure it isn’t.

However they have shown their data source, the title is nice and clear, the y-axis is labelled well and it is sorted in descending order.

My Makeover

This is one of those weeks that I wasn’t sure if I was going to have a go or not. But after looking at the data and noticing nine states don’t have a single wind turbine, I decided to focus on that.

This is what I came up with, click the image for the interactive version

I went with a simple, text only design and split the states into two groups. At least one turbine and zero turbines.

I took inspiration from a fantastic front cover on The Independent. They created two groups of countries split by whether they backed a ceasefire in the Middle East or not. It’s an excellent use of white space to highlight which countries voted which way.

With my visualisation I wanted to do something similar by sorting the states alphabetically, and leaving the white space in each group to highlight who was missing. It made it easier for me to find where a specific state is, without having to read through both lists.

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While I was building my viz, I also came up with a first draft that I shared on twitter afterwards (you can view the interactive version here). I was slightly surprised to get a more positive reaction to this version than the first one I posted.

But thinking about it, it is a slightly cleaner visualisation and I would say it’s more aesthetically pleasing; the two stacks of words act almost like a bar chart, and you can clearly see far more states have wind turbines. This is potentially a little more difficult to tell on the second version.

Let me know which one you prefer.

First Draft

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Second Draft

 

Amaretti Biscuits

I’ve been doing some baking recently and this recipe from Jamie Oliver for Amaretti biscuits is super quick and super tasty. They have a slightly chewy texture in the centre which is just fantastic. I tend to make half the recipe and this produces around 25 biscuits (should last me at least a couple of days!).

For half the recipe I replaced the amaretto with 10ml of almond extract.

You could also try rolling the balls in caster sugar and icing sugar before you bake them. It should give a really attractive cracking when the biscuits expand in the oven (this is what I’m going to try next time).

 
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