Fan Gauge

The second biggest disaster on election night might have been the New York Time's jittery gauge for their live presidential forecast. Some people took issue with the random jitter effect used to display uncertainty even calling it "irresponsible". Gregor Aisch, who works at the NYT and co-created the viz, explained their rationale. I appreciate their desire to explain uncertainty and generally love the work of the NYT Graphics Department but agree the randomness effect was confusing.

Displaying uncertainty is tricky but sometimes very important to a data visualization. Below is my proposed alternative: a fan gauge. This approach is like a typical gauge in that it displays a single point relative to a range of points or targets. The addition is the uncertainty displayed by the "fan" around the single point. The angle of the fan is the degree of uncertainty. The fan is like the jitter effect but static and easier to interpret. 




Update: Here is another version in a bullet, non-gauge format. This has a better data-to-ink ratio but still display a point relative to a range of targets as well as the degree of uncertainty. The point is the circle and the length of the "pill" is the degree of uncertainty. Let me know what you think?

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