Details, details, details: giving Zillow a pie treatment
A long view of hurricanes

The salaries are attractive but the chart isn't

The only reason why the IEEE Spectrum magazine editors chose this chart form is because they think they need to deliver precise salary figures to readers.

This chart is just so... sad.

The color scheme is all wrong, the black suggesting a funeral. The printed data occupying at least half of the width of each bar frustrate any attempt to compare lengths. We enter an unusual place where higher numbers appear under smaller numbers. The job titles are regrettably dressed in the same cloth as the median salary bars. It's not clear how the regions are ordered but in any case, it's hard to figure out regional disparities. In reality, no one is getting precisely the listed salaries - rounding up those numbers makes them easier to grasp.

This is a chart that repels rather than attracts readers.


A test of sufficiency immediately nails the problem. When the data set is removed, there is almost nothing to see:



Mid-Atlantic managers are the winners.



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Rick Wicklin

I like the redux. I always ask myself, "if can I order the categories to add more information?" You did not explicitly mention this ordering. For these data, one option is a West-East ordering, but that ordering is imperfect because of the categories include North-Middle-South variants. The other option is to order the categories by median salary, either by the engineers' salaries (which you chose) or by the managers' salaries.


So much better.

Have to wonder why they didn't just use a table for the original. At least that would have been understandable.

Bob Swerdlow

I agree that the new chart is much better. However, I also agree that east-to-west order, even if only approximate, would have been better, especially given the sub-heading at the top of the chart: "Salaries tend to be higher on the two coasts". That would also put West North Central next to East North Central, which would be easier to understand.

Also, the gray border and the gray background on the titles don't add any value and should be removed.

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