Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Redesigning visualizations

I've been writing quite a lot this week, so I'm about to send another chapter of my next book to my copy editor. It's an introduction to the five qualities that I think define great visualizations. When discussing beauty, I used some graphics made by Accurat,* like this one. I even dared to make a quick draft for a redesign, randomly picking some authors in no particular order, and asked myself if I'd print theirs or mine, in case I owned a publication. The answer to that may surprise you. I'll withhold it for now and until 2016!

*I interviewed the Accurat folks months ago, so they will also appear in the Profiles section of the book.


  1. Your redesign is quite brilliant. I find it much easier to understand the information than the original version. ~ NN

  2. Accurat is a great studio in information design, but most of the works made to La Letture has the aesthetic like a main principle... I don't no know why, but I could see it in some of these visualization.


  3. I may be playing the devil's advocate here, but in the chapter I entertain some thoughts about when it is appropriate to sacrifice clarity in favor of emotional appeal

  4. I LOVE the changes you made. Still takes me a while to understand it though. A few questions here: If there is a ranking of these 100 people, could the rank number be displaced on the visualization? And being sorted accordingly? The first legend description at the top: should it be a "birth" at the left? Putting the authors' origin region on color works fine, but I do have to reference them back and fourth many time before I can remember which color means which region. Maybe put on label on the left side of each area chart?

  5. I love the work of Accurat It's so beautiful and engaging. I agree that your rework Alberto is very clear, and is almost a "shortcut" approach to feeding me the information, but when I look at the work of accurat it's almost "tactile" (even when I'm looking at it on a screen) and I love looking and exploring and discovering. To me they have the perfect mix of art and information. Neither approach is wrong, it's just about different context I guess? I think they nail "emotional appeal".
    (And did you see the beautiful post by Georgi Lupi about their process in the tablue blog: Even her sketches and iterations are beautiful to explore...such talent!)

  6. My comments in the book go in that direction, actually...

  7. Hello,

    I found the redesigned version much easier to understand and to comapre the authors. However, it is a pity that it does not contain all the infomation of the original graphics, especially the distance between debut and first masterpiece (that I feel as the main message there). Maybe it would be possible to start the lines rather at the year of first debut than at year zero (that is not informative about anything). In that way, the graphics would contain all the information of the original version (except of hometown).

    Best regards!

    PS: I had some issues with posting. So, sorry if it would appear here three times at the end...