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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 
I received an email from the Excel Guru today (http://www.excelhero.com/) about this graph: http://www.ge.com/visualization/aging/ (screen shot below).

There is a slide bar at the bottom of the screen that allows a range change in the years compared with the top and bottom bar graphs (you can compare only two countries by graph, but all countries are compared in the line graph to the right).

Good? Bad?

No matter what, it is really pretty :-)

Happy Labor Day...

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Posts: 802
Reply with quote  #2 

This design suffers from several problems. In general, it fails to support rich comparisons.

1) By placing males above and females below, it is difficult to compare them both in terms of the number of people in each age interval and the shapes of the distributions. Rather than using a histogram (bars), the graphs on the left would work better as frequency polygons (lines), with male and female distributions both above the axis. This would make comparisons simple.
2) All six countries could be easily shown on the screen at once as a series of frequency polygons--one per country--arranged one above the other.
3) The slider control that's used to select the year makes it impossible to compare one year to another, because you can only see one at a time. Perhaps what would work better is a frequency polygon per country in a column to the right of the column of graphs that I described above, which would display one line per decades (that is, 10 years each) for total population (that is, not broken down between male and female). The frequency distribution by age does not need to be shown per year, because it won't vary much from year to year. This would result in 10 lines per graph. Check boxes could be used for selecting particular decades, which would result in all but the selected decades dimming enough to de-emphasize them without losing sight of them entirely.

Stephen Few
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