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.

Yesterday is left

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Time only runs top down in sandglasses. But not in charts. There, time is from left to right. Because it’s like that. Take a chart with a horizontal x-axis and a vertical y-axis. The independent variable should always be on the x-axis. Then everybody knows: The dependent variable is on the y-axis. That’s helpful. Like most other conventions, too.

In the newspaper WAMS, the time is vertical. Not too bad. But also not very nice.

A billion dollar business with the Mullahs. Title: 26 percent minus. The German export to the Iran in billions of Euro, each January to July
Source: Welt am Sonntag, Nr. 40, 04/10/2009, p. 36. Title: 26 percent minus. The German export to the Iran in billions of Euro, January to July for each year