As you may have seen, the Man Booker prize has been won by Howard Jacobson with The Finkler Question. If you’re a bookworm like me, and like to read all of the short-listed entries and previous Man Booker Prize winners, then you may be interested to have a look at my ‘Man Booker Prize’ dashboard, which is hosted by Tableau Public. Please click on the image if you would like to go to the website.
This dashboard may look unusual since I use a bar chart, running left to right, to represent sales and number of prizes won by publishers. This is known as a ‘column chart’ in Reporting Services. This makes use of our ‘left to right’ reading pattern in the West, in order to make the quantity easier to judge. This also facilitates comparison between the various prize winners.
The Guardian Datablog team have collated Nielsen BookScan‘s sales figures of all 43 winners of the title since its inception in 1969. Nielsen’s data starts from 1998 onwards, so it is not possible to directly compare pre-1998 sales with post-1998 sales. To acknowledge this fact, I have split out the visualisation so that post-1998 and pre-1998 winners are displayed on different graphs. In order to give you an idea of the overall pattern, however, I have ensured that the visual axis of both column charts are exactly the same; so they both start at zero, and end at 10 million. Ensuring that the visual axis are identical is helpful in the comparison process, which is an essential part of helping people to cognitively integrate the visual display (Few, 2009)
The value of sales is double-encoded, as is my normal way of expressing values. One is the length of the bar, which is one of Colin Ware’s pre-attentive attributes. Another way of encoding the value is bar colour; the stronger and more intense the colour, the visual system assumes that the values are higher (Few, 2009).
It is also possible to filter the information by publisher. Try and see who is the publisher with the highest number of winners. Is this the same as the publisher who has the highest sales amount? What does this tell us? I’ll let you have fun, by interacting with the graph here.