A friend of mine pointed me to a story in today’s WSJ (no subscription needed) with a hard to understand graphic in it. I’ve pasted the graphic below.
The designer chose to use the entire background of the chart to represent the number of sudden cardiac deaths in a given year. They used squares of different sizes to represent the number of explained and unexplained deaths from cardiac arrest. In this case, I think the designer was trying to give the reader an easy way to compare the parts to the whole, but it doesn’t work. Also, there are over 100 words of annotation on this otherwise skimpy graphic, which makes me think they could have done away with the graphic and just used the words instead.
Here’s the WSJ graphic:
Here’s what I think the chart should look like:
What do you think? Is my graphic clearer than the WSJ’s? What would you do differently? I’d love to hear your comments.