Avoid ‘chartjunk’ with KaleidaGraph
Graphical excellence is that which gives the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time with the least ink in the smallest space.
Chartjunk (a term coined by Edward Tufte in his 1983 book “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information”) refers to all visual elements in charts and graphs that are not necessary to comprehend the information represented on the graph, or that distract the viewer from this information.
Markings and visual elements can be called ‘chartjunk’ if they are not part of the minimum set of visuals necessary to communicate the information understandably. Examples of unnecessary elements which might be called chartjunk include heavy or dark grid lines, unnecessary text or inappropriately complex font faces, ornamented chart axes and display frames, pictures or icons within data graphs, ornamental shading and unnecessary dimensions.
Another kind of chartjunk skews the depiction and makes it difficult to understand the real data being displayed. Examples of this type include items depicted out of scale to one another, noisy backgrounds making comparison between elements difficult in a chart or graph, and 3D simulations in line and bar charts.
Clean up the chartjunk with KaleidaGraph
Software that produces business graphs (i.e.Excel) makes it far too easy to decorate your message with distracting visual content that provides no real information and is therefore distracting and sometimes downright misleading – chartjunk. You need the right tool for the job!
With KaleidaGraph, you can present large amounts of information in a way that is compact, accurate, adequate for the purpose, and easy to understand. Specifically, KaleidaGraph allows you to achieve the (valid) goals that are desired. Graphs created in KaleidaGraph are clean, simple, and professional.
Design better graphs
We have compiled some information from various web sites that will help you to design better graphs. We hope you find this information useful.
- 14 misconceptions about charts and graphs
- Graphical excellence in scientific presentations and papers
- General principles of graphic display
Chart suggestions – a thought starter
Dr. Andrew Abela has created a diagram which helps you decide which type of graph to use. We have modified this diagram to fit the features of KaleidaGraph. Click here for more details.