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The coming commodization of infographics

Colors, layers and functions on the Olympic schedule

Readers Fausto and Jeruza have a question for us. In the following official schedule (link) for the upcoming London Olympics, what do the colors signify?


The blue seems to signify aquatics (diving, rowing, sailing, etc.) except that at the bottom of the chart (clipped), weightlifting has the same blue. The four types of cycling come in three colors. A legend would be a very useful thing here. Like F&J, I kept staring at the chart hoping for inspiration but nothing is forthcoming.

Would prefer also to see the sports shown in order of earliest start date, as opposed to alphabetical.

I find other aspects of this chart attractive. There is an impressive amount of details, like which days the event finals are held. Mousing over the medal symbols produces some useful data:


The daily view provides even more details:


The details are nicely wrapped in layers.


Taking a step back, it would be interesting to understand who the designer has in mind when he/she created this chart. I could imagine a journalist trying to get a quick overview of the day's events but then the chart doesn't provide the venues.  An avid fan might want to figure out what's on TV but then consulting a true TV schedule would be better since no station is unlikely to show everything, and they can't show simultaneous competitions anyway.


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I thought the colors might signify venues, so I chose a venue at random, the one for weightlifting (Excel Sports).

No luck. None of the other sports colored the same as weightlifting is at the same venue.

Interestingly, though, on the Excel website, it shows all of the events being held there, and the colors ARE consistent with the graph you showed. (Weightlifting is in blue, all the other events are in orange.)

So the coloring scheme must come from higher than the venue, and must mean something. But now I will stop trying to figure this out, since I have a job and could spend all morning trying to satisfy my curiosity!


I think they're supposed to be livestreaming things online this year (although I'm unclear what sort of hoops you'll have to jump through to get to it) so I guess it might be useful for someone online to figure out what to watch live. I wonder about the colors though.


"Would prefer also to see the sports shown in order of earliest start date, as opposed to alphabetical."

Why? If the main thing people are looking for is "when does XXX occur" then it helps to have XXX in alphabetical order.


This is driving me crazy trying to find out what the colors represent! I have thought the same things you all have.


" since no station is unlikely to show everything, and they can't show simultaneous competitions anyway."
The BBC is! If I press the red button on the telly or go online I have the choice of watching any sport that is happening at that given time. It's sport-heaven!!
The chart it has on to choose which sport to watch is similar to the daily view above, but simpler, just showing a line showing if that event is currently live or coming up.


It's not easy to find, but colours are explained in the bottom right navigation under Using this site:
"The colours used on this site have been chosen to provide maximum contrast and to minimise difficulty for those with different kinds of colour blindness.

"Changing a website’s background colour can be useful for people who rely on magnification technology, as white can produce an uncomfortable glare. It is also possible to change the colour of body text on the site. [. . .]

"You can also use the 'A A A' buttons in the top right of each page to adapt the colours to suit your preferences. The first 'A' is the standard view. The second 'A' is for readers with dyslexia. The third 'A' is a high visual colour view."

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Would choose also to see the activities proven in order of very first start time frame, in contrast to alphabetical.

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