Will Traditional Charts Survive?

No, traditional charts are useless  in our complex world

playfair-piechartOver the next 25 years, we will need new visualization tools to replace traditional charts.

As you know, line, bar and even pie charts first appeared 200 years ago, with William Playfair, and perhaps until 25 years ago, they were good enough helping us to make sense of our data. Before computers, they were crafted by graphic designers. Kids in schools drew them using millimetric paper.

Lotus 123 and Harvard Graphics were the most popular charting tools in the early days of personal computers. With those tools (and later, with Excel), the charting landscape changed forever. Some charts vanished, either because they weren’t simple enough and/or didn’t make it into the chart gallery (I miss trilinear plots – yes, Jon, I know how to create them in Excel, but still…), while others should never have been allowed into that gallery.

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