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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

Overstacking Bars

Mint goes too far with a stacked column chart

Mint-IncomeDistributionStackBar

This stacked column chart is certainly pretty, but falls down on usability. It does not make it easy to compare income levels across states. Reading across the bottom it works for the lowest income group and reading across the top it works for the highest. For the five groups in between it does not work at all because there is no common point of reference. It is very difficult to compare an inner bar to any other inner bar.

This infographic would be less pretty, but far more useful if each group was displayed in its own row with a common zero line. Then the eye could easily scan across to spot the highs and lows.

The lesson is that a stacked column or bar chart can be useful at times, but only when a small number of comparisons are made or when the differences among the bars is very evident. Otherwise, don’t do it!

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Pie Chart Phobia?

GoodReader Avoids Pie, But Does This Serve the Reader?

This overly elaborate infographic presents the same information as a classic pie chart or even a table. Does it do it better? I think not.

Badbook

It could be that the publication thinks a classic pie or table does not match the image they want to present. Unfortunately, this chaotic presentation makes it much harder for the reader to make sense of the information.

Either a pie or a table sorted by percentage would quickly communicate the top reasons for quitting. This presentation leaves the reader hunting for key information. Why this jumbled spatial arrangement?

The leading factor is labeled in slightly larger type and bolded, but the significance is lost in a sea of bad typography. No typographic hierarchy is maintained in the rest of the labels. Why so many crummy fonts?

Say, what makes you stop reading an infographic?

Cascade of Pies Intrigues

iStrategy arranges pie charts to explore relationships and display relative importance

This alternative to a simple rectilinear arrangement of charts is not only more visually appealing, but also encourages the viewer to consider how the different datasets relate to each other. At the top of the infographic a bright red pie shows the total media market. As the viewer travels downward, different aspects of the mobile market are presented. Related topics are grouped and identically colored. Additional breakdowns of pie slices are shown as overlapping pies.

Pies-NETDNA-anatomy-of-the-mobile-market 2

The Power of Showing Not Telling

The new book “An Illustrated Guide to Income in the United States” presents a comprehensive collection of infographics, maps and charts looking at the history of incomes and occupations in the United States.

Data can be a powerful persuader. Instead of pages and pages of text spoon feeding the reader with conclusions, this book presents a large dataset in a format that empowers the reader to study the data itself to draw their own independent conclusions.

IncomeGuide_2013_page 34

New distribution technology is empowering too… the entire book can be read online for free. It can also be purchased as a PDF for $15, paperback + PDF for $42.50, or hardback + pdf for $60.

Graphics Gone Viral

Animated infographic becomes a YouTube star

Over 4,000,000 views and 17,000 comments and steadily rising. Animated column chart with narration makes its point dramatically.

Spiral Charts

Scientific American plots hugely dissimilar values.

When some values in a bar graph are very large and others are much smaller it is difficult to discern the differences. All of the small values produce bars that are barely visible so there is no way to see the differences among the small bars. The spiral chart solves this by bending the bars. The high values spiral around and around. Differences in the low value bars are still clearly visible.

SciAm-SpiralChart

Killer Graphic

Scientific American graphic succinctly drives home the point

It may be a cliche that a picture is worth 1000 words, but this graphic certainly proves the point. Three bar graphs showing how life expectancy is altered by our “good” and “bad” habits.

SciAmer-minutes-of-life