A rule without If-Then

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

6 reasons for vacation. 2 years. 2 parts of Germany. 24 values. Sounds easy. It’s not. A lot to think about in this chart.

Motives for vacation in Germany - Source: Welt am Sonntag (WAMS), No. 43, 200-10-25, p.24
Source: Welt am Sonntag (WAMS), No. 43, 2009–10–25, p.24
Motivations of Germans for vacation, East (”Ost”) vs. West Germany, from top: new impressions, experience, being on travel, to indulge in something, relaxation, reactivation of memories.

Closeness connects: The headline connects with all first bars. It becomes graphical itself. But shouldn’t. It’s for all four bars.

Time is horizontal: We had that before. Here, a decrease is a movement to the left. Hard to understand for the eye.

Man with a hat: Two men stand beside each other. The smaller one wears a hat. How small is that one? Values to the right of the bar: better not this time.

Colours group: In WAMS all values for 1991 and all values for 2008. Might be ok. Not ideal here.

Checkered is out: Stripes in the background are funny. And decrease readability.

Most important: reason, years, change between years, part of Germany and variance between East and West – all packed into the vertical. Too much.

Urlaubsmotive der Deutschen - Redesign als Grafische Tabelle
Source: DeltaMaster

My rule: Use two visual axes: vertical and horizontal, if it helps. Doesn’t always work. Here it’s ok.

Good news from Wall Street

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

The Wall Street Journal (2008–10–23) does it right. Nothing chopped off. The Royal Bank of Scotland in free fall. Nearly 14 %. You see it. The disaster as long as the column wide.

In the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ, 2008–10–23) 29 out of 50 bars for the Stoxx index end trembling in haze.

The reason: To spare nervous investors a lot of stress the SZ cuts everything above 5 %. Consequently, the 15.25 % lost by Repsol, too. Soothing. But nonsense.

Dear SZ, now that you are using beautiful graphical tables, why don’t you use them correctly?