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Consistency Is Important

September 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Analysis clouded by graphic hodgepodge

The Washington Post’s careful unpacking of Romney’s “47 percent” assertion was supported with a series of detailed charts. Unfortunately the charts were grabbed from a variety of sources and used as-is. The resulting lack of consistency, not only looked bad, but made the analysis much more difficult to comprehend. It forced the reader to wade through many shifting definitions and graphic representations. To make sense of it the reader had to mentally redraw the graphics. If the Post had bothered to redraw and recast the graphics for a consistent presentation the analysis would have been much more powerful. Somebody ought to do this. It would make a great infographic.

(click to enlarge)

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Simple Interactivity Adds Information

Rollovers assist in pulling a chart apart

This chart in the Washington Post makes us want to dig deeper to make comparisons across individual nations, but with so many data points the added clutter would detract from the overall purpose of the chart. This is easily solved by using rollovers: pointing to a data point reveals a label showing the country name and highlighting all the other points on the chart from that country.