R you listening?

Forewarning, if I haven’t already, I’m about to reveal what a nerd I am.

I spent a week this summer learning about the open source statistical program R and how to visualize data using R programs. R is similar to SAS, which lets users write statistical analysis programs for large amounts data. In some ways, I was in over my head. I haven’t taken a statistics course since high school and my coding skills are ummmm…..let’s just say less than satisfactory.

But I loved it. (Thanks Deb!)

I think the part that was most fascinating to me was the graphic design overview the instructor—a statistical/data expert— gave. Listening to her explain how important it is to make good color choices, to make text legible, and to consider what a particular form is really saying about your data was FASCINATING—not because it was new—but because of her statistical justification of graphic design practices. We had a whole discussion of “bad charts” that queued me in to some statistical no-nos that have implications for graphic design.

So what am I going to do with this? I’ve got no idea. Maybe thesis stuff? Maybe dominate my fantasy football league—again revealing my nerdiness?

Anyway, here’s a cool example of something you can do with R. It’s not the most visually pleasing, but it’s fun!