6 Replies Latest reply on Jul 22, 2012 10:51 PM by Shawn Wallwork

    "Puny"tive damages: Information is Beautiful

    Andy Cotgreave

      The guys at Information is Beautiful have been at it again with squares in squares. This time to show the relationship between big corporate fines and their income. What do you think of the approach. Here's a link to the original:



      As all practitioners of good visual design know, area is not the best way to encode size. Length is much better - we can perceive differences a lot quicker and easier. So I came up with this response. What do you think?

        • 1. Re: "Puny"tive damages: Information is Beautiful
          Michael Mixon

          Yes, this is a great exhibit A in the debate over aesthetics vs. information.  The original might be a bit more visually stimulating (and really, only a bit), but your alternative tells the story significantly faster and easier.  Nice job.



          • 2. Re: "Puny"tive damages: Information is Beautiful
            Dustin Smith

            Love this.


            A couple things:

            1. Awesome shout-out and link-back to the original source at Information is Beautiful within the viz.  This is so crucial to the conversational aspect of these discussions.  Not everyone thinks about the concept of journalistic integrity when doing this type of visualization critique and I love that you continue to take the time and attention to detail to make sure it's done right. Kudos!
            2. Focus is on the difference between fine and the revenue - does making the reference lines red so they stand out help that comparison at all or does it contrast too greatly with the softened bar colors?
            3. BP & Wyeth...ouch!
            • 3. Re: "Puny"tive damages: Information is Beautiful
              Shawn Wallwork

              Andy very nice viz, but you hit one of my pet-peeves about Tableau (arguhhh!). When I downloaded your viz and brought it into Desktop it displays like this:



              In Chrome it looks fine. In Desktop you get sliders and truncated text. We struggle with these issues everyday, and end up testing every viz on dozens of computers/screen resolutions to make sure they look right. I soooo wish Tableau would work out the whole sizing problem!


              But like I said, nice viz.



              • 4. Re: "Puny"tive damages: Information is Beautiful
                Dustin Smith

                Hi Shawn,


                Thanks for high-lighting this issue.  Our developers are always hunting after these elusive formatting errors.  I just downloaded Andy's workbook and opened it with Desktop 7.0.5 and didn't get the the sliders that your screenshot showed.  What version of Desktop are you running?


                Other explanation is that Andy updated his viz in the last 2 weeks. 



                • 5. Re: "Puny"tive damages: Information is Beautiful
                  Shawn Wallwork

                  Hey Dustin,


                  I'm running Desktop 7.0.6 and I just downloaded it again and got the same results. Here are the two views side-by-side:



                  Left is Desktop, right is Andy's original web post in Chrome. I am using Windows 7. To my eye, one of the problems is that the font sizes aren't being maintained (substituted correctly). Notice that while the size of the bar chart in Chrome is larger, the font size for the "Punitive damages" title is quite a bit smaller. I think font size is the root of a lot of this trouble, but that doesn't completely explain what's going on with the color legend and sort bar chart buttons doing the scroll bar thing.


                  Hope this helps. Thanks a lot for giving this some of your attention!




                  PS: The "Punitive dam-" title in Desktop is Georgia 18 on my machine. I'd be curious to know what Andy's original font was.

                  • 6. Re: "Puny"tive damages: Information is Beautiful
                    Shawn Wallwork

                    Now I'm down-right depressed.


                    Dustin I figured out what's going on. Anyone working in higher resolutions, 1920x1080 for instance usually has to use a Window's setting to bump up fonts/button/tabs/icons so they'll be more readable. Here's why:



                    The font in the reply box looks "normal" size, easy to read, but all the tabs, and the web address, are tiny. Here's how Tableau looks in default size at 1920x1080:



                    While "Punitive damage" is easily readable, everything else is tiny. But please note that Andy's Viz now displays correctly.


                    Unfortunately this means that Tableau will only display workbooks correctly at the Windows default setting. Here's where you make the 'bump':


                    Window Setting.PNG


                    Now I'll let Andy have his VizTalk back, and move this discussion over to the Idea forum. (Sorry about that Andy.)