A Design Problem
I helped a large corporation improve a graph that displayed their regional sales in 2004 compared to 2003. This was their original graph.
[Scroll down to see our solution to this graph's design problems.]
Notice the following problems in the example above:
- You must work much too hard to determine which bars belong to which regions.
- The many colors, as well as the heavy horizontal grid lines, cause the graph to appear cluttered.
- The data is not presented in a way that supports easy comparisons among the regions.
In less than 1/2 hour I presented them with the following alternative to their graph:
This graph tells the message clearly and efficiently.
- All of the distractions have been removed.
- The bars have been labeled with the region names, eliminating the need for a legend.
- There is a clear distinction between gains and losses.
- It is now easy to compare the performance of each region, from best to worst.