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Decluttering Visuals

Elizabeth Ricks shows how you can remove extraneous noise from a visual and make it easier for a person to understand what you’re trying to show:

This caught my eye not because of the topic but because of how much time it took me to figure out what information it was trying to convey. What should I do with this? There’s a lot competing for my attention in this chart and distracting me from the data.

Spend a moment examining this graph and take note of which specific elements are challenging. Make a list: what might we eliminate or change to reduce cognitive burden?

I came up with eight specific design changes I would make. How does my list compare with yours?

There is a subjective element to this, but the end result does look better.