Small Multiples – Hannah Croskrey

After reading Edward Tufte’s text about small multiples I found this infographic, Sugargram, explaining how much sugar there is in certain things we consume. All throughout this visual we see words, numbers, and graphics. These all seem to bring some sort of information in their own ways. Tufte talks about the importance of these three elements and using them properly. This visual is effective yet a little busy. There are many pieces of information to take in from each of the small multiples. Instead of seeing the information as a whole in each box, our eye has to bounce around from one corner to the next to gather all of the information. We are not able to view this whole graphic in one glance which is important. The sugar cubes in the boxes are a very intriguing element in this visual and draw the viewers eye because of the big contrast from the brown background to the white cubes. The words could be simplified by just putting “1 Banana” instead of “Banana (1 of ’em)” or whatever item is being used for demonstration. The viewer is, however, able to gather the needed information in each rectangle.

Edward Tufte’s description of the divisions between information was interesting to me and something to which I had not given much thought. I found myself liking the small multiples that did not use disruptive divisions because they flowed better and were successful enough not to need these harsh lines separating information. The divisions between the small multiples use disruptive divisions rather than more silent methods. However, with so much information, the reader needs these divisions to be able to tell what words and numbers go with what graphics. If there were fewer facts then it would probably be more effective to use a silent method which causes the visual to become more reader friendly. Overall this visual is fairly simple to understand and follow, but might be more effective if simplified.

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