How would a novel read if all the text were centered? I am aware that most Westerners read from left to right, and some Easterners read from right to left. Not until now am I educated on the third way, which is to center everything.
Here is the object of study, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:
The point of the chart is to compare Samsung's revenues with those of key competitors in each category. The comparative information is the difference in lengths between the pair of bars. This difference is halved and then tagged on to each end of the bar. This requires reading from outside in.
In order to double the fun, the data labels are pushed to opposite ends of the bars as well, perhaps to let us know that indeed, the companies under comparison are maximally different.
Furthermore, while the key comparison is between Samsung and its competitors, the Samsung bars experience a chameleon shift from blue to green to red to yellow. The competitors' bars follow suit but wearing checkered skirts.
Because black labels jar with checkered fabric, the fabric must first be bleached before applying the labels (or price tags).
Beyond the amusement, there are some serious problems with the choice of data. We are never told why Sony, Nokia, Intel and LG Display were chosen as foil to Samsung. Are they the nearest competitors or the biggest player in the respective segment? We question whether one quarter's revenue could be representative of the big picture. We wonder about the effect of currency conversions since the chart encompasses at least three different currencies. We ask if the definition of "consumer electronics" is the same between Samsung and Sony.
Reference: "Samsung's Swelling Size Brings New Challenges", Wall Street Journal, Nov 12 2009.