Juice Analytics comments on “Godin’s take on Tufte:”
(Godin) I think this is one of the worst graphs ever made.
He’s very happy because it shows five different pieces of information on three axes and if you study it for 15 minutes it really is worth 1000 words.
I don’t think that is what graphs are for. I think you are trying to make a point in two seconds for people who are two lazy to read the forty words underneath
I think Seth has it just right. Personally, I can hardly resist the a well-constructed infographic, but I have an unnatural interest in data. For the many business users, better to construct information displays that are simple and to the point.
So, Seth’s points are good. They’re made in this video presentation at GEL 2006 (Google video, worth watching).
I’m really irritated by Juice’s words. It is never better to construct information displays that are simple and to the point, absent an understanding of why you’re constructing a display. If your point is “Napoleon lost a lot of lives attacking Russia” maybe a bar graph would do. Sometimes complex reasoning requires complex data. The question is not “Should your graphics be simple and to the point,” but rather “do my graphics help present the data and help people reason about it?”
To put it another way, start from the user story, use case, or scenario, and construct your information presentations to help that story along. Then, and only then, should you make it as simple and to the point as possible, but no simpler.