ChartBlocks at the PHP UK Conference

For the next couple of days the ChartBlocks team are going to be attending the PHP UK Conference.

So, we thought, how can we bring charts in to this? The guys here came up with a few different idea for data about the conference that we could plot. First of all we started with tweets and using the ChartBlocks PHP SDK (you can find it on GitHub here) wrote some quick scripts to count the number of tweets that were being sent using the hashtag #PHPUK14.

All of the ticketing for PHP UK is done via Eventbrite which has a great API that you can...

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Chart of the day: Internet Explorer Usage Rates

For today's 'Chart of the day' we decided to look at Internet Explorer's market share. Everyone on our team has been developing for the web for years and remembers spending days wrestling with IE5 and IE6 but more recent versions can actually be quite pleasant to work with.

It's tempting to think that this graph shows just how frustrating Internet Explorer is to use. It's so annoying it drives people to murder. But of course, the graph is actually a good example of how correlation does not always mean there is a causal link. Internet Explorer usage has declined since 2006, and it just happens that the murder rate in the US has declined for different reasons.

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Introducing ChartBlocks

Welcome to the very first ChartBlocks blog post.

We plan to use this space to give updates about new product features and updates but also to help everyone design better charts.

As Williard C. Brinton said back in 1914 in his book ‘Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts’:

Millions of dollars yearly are spent in the collection of data, with the fond expectation that the data will automatically cause the correction of the conditions studied. Though accurate data and real facts are valuable, when it comes to getting results the manner of presentation is ordinarily more important than the facts themselves. The foundation of an edifice is of vast importance. Still, it is not the foundation but the structure built upon the foundation which gives the result for which the whole work was planned. As the cathedral is to its foundation so is an effective presentation of facts to the data.

Over the coming months we will show you some of the best examples of data visualisation and offer insights into how you too can present your data like a professional.

Until then...

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Common problems with charts… and how to avoid them!

The main point of a graph is to relay information very quickly; you would hope that someone viewing your data would see the point very quickly and then you can discuss the implications at length. But because you are effectively placing so much information in one graphic, it is easy to give the wrong message, whether by intention or by mistake. Let’s assume that you aren’t out to mislead your audience, there are still several ways in which you can unwittingly give out spurious information. The main ways in which this can happen include;

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Confused about chart types? Not any more!

When you find that you have data that you want to chart it can be pretty confusing as to what type of chart you should use and how your data is going to turn out. Being presented with the options and possibilities can seem very daunting, but if you take a little time to sort through the possibilities and understand what you are likely to get at the end of the process then you are more likely to produce something that you want and shows the data you need.  To help with this I've reviewed what the basic types of charts are and the advantages/disadvantages of them.

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