As a jack of all trades I feel I know a lot and not at all at the same time. But one thing I know is about visualization, I just love it, I love to tell stories and ideas and provide insight on data and see the looks on people’s faces when they discover things they never thought before.

So when I see visualization blunders on the web I can’t help but to notice, laugh, and even take note as to not make such silly mistakes.

Here I will put the ones I collect over time.


This figure makes heights disproportionate. The Y-axis (vertical) doesn’t start at 0. So any comparison with this is completely useless, maybe even disrespecful.

The only thing I like about this, is the answers that people write on twitter.

This is not what Student-T means

People who claim to be scientists actually did this graph. Maybe they saw that scientific articles normally have graphs with some weird little squiggles that resemble capital letter Ts and thought “hmm I will just put Ts here to make it look more professional and no one will be the wiser” well no, the whole interenet noticed. This nice article covered the whole story.

Abnormal map

This might be a bit niche. But when I was teaching computer graphics and I asked them to render meshes with their normals, one student just added a material with a color that was “similar” to a normal map. I can’t believe he thought I wouldn’t notice. To this day I don’t understand why students do this 🙁

Good book on datavis

A friend shared this book with me long ago and I still love it. I like part II: Principles of figure design

17 The principle of proportional ink
18 Handling overlapping points
19 Common pitfalls of color use
20 Redundant coding
21 Multi-panel figures
22 Titles, captions, and tables
23 Balance the data and the context
24 Use larger axis labels
25 Avoid line drawings
26 Don’t go 3D