Redesigning marketing charts’ graph about the biggest challenges to creating a positive customer experience

The original bar chart hides the most striking change in plain sight

Robert Mion
2 min readAug 31, 2020

This graph appeared in my LinkedIn feed early this morning

Original data source: Chief Marketer by way of marketing charts

What I see in order

  1. Contrast creates interest: I notice the dark right-hand bars are sorted descending, making me assume a negative trend
  2. I hone in on the first bar, notice 50%…of what?…see the slightly smaller 45%…then find the label at the bottom of the pillar
  3. I start reading the labels, glancing at each pair of vertical bars
  4. Consumer engagement catches my eye: its pair features the most prominent difference in height
  5. I spot the legend, telling me the left bar is pre-Covid and the right is post-
  6. I then read the headline and subhead of the chart
  7. Lastly, I’m left to do rough visual math to determine the differences in percent for each challenge

Don’t make me think. Stop wasting my time. Show me the point, not the data.

Redesigned chart based on the original
  • The bright red shouts ‘look at me first’
  • This is the category with the most drastic shift: Consumer engagement up 50% — from 28% to 42% claiming it is a top-3 challenge
  • Budget is next at 10%
  • Lastly, Technology is green since those surveyed claim it is less of a challenge

All things considered

  • A slope graph is great at visualizing the difference in value for two states of a small number of categories
  • Since these values could be greater than and less than 0, the chart needed a baseline. I aligned the pre-COVID and post-COVID month ranges to that line to further instill its importance.
  • Instead of displaying the before and after percentages, I opted to highlight the more important data: the change as a percent
  • Instead of displaying all categories, I opted to highlight the three that changed more than 2%
  • I used color to note negative and positive change

Below is a side-by-side comparison of both charts

This was another delightful exercise in using the most appropriate chart type, and maximizing data-ink for the purpose of helping the reader more quickly understand what the author wanted to share.

I’ll share more exercises as I complete them, on Mondays, as part of #MakeoverMonday on Twitter.