A different way to show correlations

Looking for a better looking alternative to the standard correlation matrix? The roof-shaped matrix may be just what you’re looking for.

This month’s SWD challenge was to think about how to guide an audience from a commonly understood graph to a less familiar form. For example, showing the same data on both a bar chart and a dot plot so that it’s clear how the dot plot should be read.

Roof-shaped matrix diagram

My first stop for this challenge was the data viz project, where I found the roof-shaped matrix diagram.

All the examples here show it being used to display if particular rooms in a building need to be adjacent or not. So, it was time to think about what else it could be used for.

I’ve used standard matrix diagrams in the past for looking at the correlation between different funds when diversifying my investments. This would be a good use case for the roof-shaped matrix.

There are several advantages to the roof-shaped matrix over the standard matrix:

My final visual

From familiar to new

The familiar correlation matrix shown on the left, along with the “how to read?” section help guide the audience, and make it easier for them to understand the new diagram.

Feedback from the community

What I like about the SWD community is that there are always like-minded people willing to give feedback.

Here are two different suggestions for improving the “how to read?” section.

Highlighting all the correlations for a single asset class:

Highlighting two different correlations:

Ultimately, I decided to stick with the original “how to read?” section due to its simplicity.