How small design decisions in data journalism can affect a user’s understanding of the numbers

Data visualization is much an art as a science, Wonkblog’s Christopher Ingraham says. Comparing his own map about population change in the U.S. to the Pew Charitable Trust’s map of the same data, Ingraham shows how small design decisions such as a choice of color or the number of thresholds can affect how numbers are displayed and ultimately understood by the readers. Ingraham writes: “Communicating with numbers is, in many ways, just like communicating with words. You make decisions about what to emphasize and what to downplay, and about how to convey a full understanding of the subject at hand.”