It’s hard to compare two different graphics, especially when they are not the same type and contain different amount of information. But when it comes to effective or ineffective information presenting, I think the standards for judgment can be the same. So I will talk about two graphics, one good and one not so good, and explain my reason for each of them.
The first graphic Oil Prices Reach a Symbolic Mark, it’s done early 2008 by the New York Times. It’s nothing super complicated, but I really think it worked out well. It’s a line chart with animation and audio to explain as the animation goes on. At each important point, there is emphasis for it using an enlarged spot, with some accompanying texts and a photo image to present more information. Every piece of information for a certain point just matches so well and make it really easy to understand. And the fact that they used audio to guide the whole animation is really brilliant. Besides, the color skin is really mild and the whole visuals look clean (with some transparency effects going on).
While this seemingly plain chart is super effective to present information, a lot of graphics that look fancy are not the best to convey messages. For example, this is a well-drawn 2012 graphic about a historical comparison of the Olympics. It’s from SodaHead.com. It has some merits but I think it’s problematic too.
It contains a lot of information, but didn’t organize the information in a clear and easy-to-read way. The biggest issue for me is to separate the different sections of information and figure out what’s the different topics in the graphic. There are just so much images, texts, and colors. It seems a little clustered to me. The bold and rich colors are a little distracting to me. I don’t what know what’s the emphases are. Another problem is the graphic apparently has too much information, and I really think people won’t be able to take it all. We need to select the most important things and highlight them. For example, in the section “The map of the world”, it has a scattered bubble chart of some countries’ award winning, but also a list of all the other countries below. I don’t think a complete list is necessary, even if it is, it shouldn’t take that much space and get almost the same attention. Maybe the size and color should be changed.