WHAT is the best way to display information? The data geeks at The Economist struggle with this question every day. On January 17th we produced a daily chart about Kickstarter, the largest crowdfunding site. It showed projects by three measures—money pledged, average pledge and success rate—using traditional bar charts.
However a draft version was more ambitious, showing the interrelationships among the three categories using a technique called “parallel coordinates” (see the thumbnail chart on the top right). The vertical columns rank the projects; the lines show how ranks change across the categories. Steep vertical lines signal something interesting. Yet we felt critics might grumble that the comparisons were not related: money in dollars, success rate in percentage. Hence, straightforward bar charts ruled the hour.