Involuntary head tilt
Nov 25, 2013
A data graphic's first mission is communications. Looking cute should not come before. This one is a big fail by MIT Technology Review (link).
What makes the designer want to tilt the reader's head?
This chart is unreadable. It also fails the self-sufficiency test. All 13 data points are printed onto the chart. You really don't need the axis, and the gridlines.
A further design flaw is the use of signposts. Our eyes are drawn to the hexagons containing the brand icons but the data is at the other end of the signpost, where it is planted on the surface!
Here is a sketch of something not as cute:
Notice that I expressed time as years, and undid the log-transform on the axis of users. The mobile-related entities are labelled red. The dots could be replaced by the hexagonal brand icons.
The other two charts on the same page have their own issues. Health warning: your head may tilt.