I’ve been paying attention to this conversation about the traffic page and appreciate all the insight and feedback.
As the only member of the DPW development team, things change and improve only if I give it my attention. While I have long been aware of the confusion the traffic chart has caused, it has only been because of this feedback that I have been able to rethink it and clearly understand the issues involved.
Where is the Line Chart?
The traffic chart has long confused many of our members and, I fear, many of those who haven’t reported being confused, simply didn’t know they were misinterpreting the data. After years of it being this way I have sheepishly discovered that all the confusion was my doing because I was displaying the data incorrectly.
The traffic data represents the total number of clicks (view and other) that a given work of art has received on DPW and in the artist’s DPW Gallery. The vertical axis is the number clicks and the horizontal axis is the most recent date each work has appeared on the What’s New page. Each data point therefore represents a single work of art.
Presented as a line chart, however, the data looks more like the amount of traffic received over time. Further, since the points on the right represent works that generally had less time and exposure on DPW, and therefore fewer clicks, the line usually descended to the right, which understandably lead many artists to believe their traffic and thus exposure on DPW was decreasing over time, when it wasn’t.
I have now realized the data needs to be presented so a time-based relationship between the data points is not implied. The data points need to be shown disconnected so they can more easily be seen to represent individual and unrelated works of art.
I had thought a vertical bar chart would be the best (or least bad) presentation to achieve this goal, however thanks to Fritz’s feedback, I have switched to a scatter chart instead.
Where are the Artist Averages?
The other question is what happened to the artists’ averages? Presenting averages would make sense if the data did, in fact, represent traffic over time. It really doesn’t make sense, however, with the data representing clicks per individual artwork. This is because the clicks are on works of art over time, not clicks on a given day.
The only link in the old line chart between your data and the average data was the date your work and the work of everyone else that made up the average most recently appeared on the What’s New page. This really falls apart when much older work, with many clicks is reposted to the What’s New page, which it can be up to three times as often as every six months, and really skews the average. Unfortunately this happens more and more often.
There is Better to Come
As penance :-), I am going to rethink, improve, and expand the traffic feature in the coming weeks. I will keep the clicks per artwork that it always has had, as it offers insight into relative popularity, and I will add actual traffic over time data, as well.