„The round has to go square.“
Based on Sepp Herberger
When trying to visualize data you should always consider to show similar things in a similar way. Last week Spiegel-Online came up with an interesting contrary approach:
The so called “SPIN-HEAD-GRAPHIC”!
SPON released the below infographic to compare game statistics of Sergej-Evljuskin, a former player of the German national youth soccer team and his erstwhile team members. But instead of comparing bars with bars, the designer chose to show the statistic of Sergej within the logo of the DFB (German Football Association) and all other values with gray bars.
Unfortunately the logo, now, consists of several circual elements with one of these matching the exact color of the bars of the other players. That’s quite unfavorable… according to some very basic design rules e.g. from Gestalt theory, similar things belong together. So together with the request from the headline, where the user is asked to compare the records, one must imagine the grey circular element to visualize the record of Sergej. An attempt sure to fail.
Here you will find our suggestion, how the graphic could easily be improved while even showing more information in a more comparable way.
By the way we cleaned up the quite mixed up graphic at the same time. E.g. the best way to compare figures is to arrange them in a column and not at the end of the bars. The way it is done in the SPON graphic is misleading, too, as it is not sure which numbers correspond with the values of the bars? The black ones to the left or the orange numbers to the right? Above all if you consider another Gestalt theory’s rule: Elements close to each other belong together. Applied to our redesign of the chart (even if they have different colors!) the numbers closer to the bars just show the values of these bars.