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.]
Design Example #1 Problem

My Analysis

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.

A Solution

In less than 1/2 hour I presented them with the following alternative to their graph:

Design Example #1 Solution

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.