First, the reader

That's what The Dallas Morining News staff thinked when they did this graphic about ethnic and religious differences in Iraq. Take a look to these graphics.

At first sight, the first looks like a more interesting graphic, more visual. But DMN graphic staff though than going this way would be a mess for the reader, so they decide to clearer and made the graphic of the right. Most of the times we sacrifice a clear graphic because we want a spectacular one, and we're not supposed to do it. Readers go first.

Sergio Peçanha, graphics director at The Dallas Morning News, explains the process himself:

"In the first graphic (left of the two above) you'll see we had the graphic pretty much ready, with that map at the center. But when you tried to read the graphic, we were making it very hard on the readers. We started with the Sunni/shia divide, then a couple of historic maps and a timeline.
On the right side, we had Iraq's ethnic groups and the 3D map, showing population and ethno-religious groups in the country. The circles on the right showed the deaths among Iraqis in January (Baghdad is the big circle).
At this point we decided to make the graphic more linear, it was very heavy to read. So redesigned it, simplified things and cut some of the information. We felt there was too much stuff stuck in the graphic.

On the definitive graphic (right of the two above) you see the final graphic. We grouped history of the borders at the top. That shows that when Iraq was formed, it's borders were merging together several different groups. That's a recipe for conflict.

Then, at the right, it's the difference between Sunnis and Shiites and what they want in the conflict (we didn't have this last part before). Finally, we added a photo that we thought would display the rage better. Below the photo we have Iraq's ethnicities. At the bottom, foreign interests."

You can take a look to the whole process here

Thanks to Sergio Peçanha fo all the infomation and the images and he and all his staff for this great lesson

No comments: