Spark That Line
I’m a fan of sparklines, Ed Tufte’s graphical depiction within text of numerical data (it’s more exciting than I’ve made it sound). Here’s a couple of updates: First off, The Hardball Times is using them to show a month of scores of the major U.S. baseball teams:
The bars are win (up) and loss (down). But also they’ve packed in a bit more information there: horizontal lines denote home games while gray bars represent games decided by two runs or less. You can see it better here:
Nice work, guys. Meanwhile one of the best sparkline makers on the block, the Microsoft Office add-on SparkMaker from Nicholas Bissantz, is now into version 3.0. Sparklines will now update automatically when data in the original spreadsheet changes. The images are now scalable and more easily tweaked, and look better in print. Other tweaks are in there which I look forward to playing with.
In short, sparklines are a great way to pack useful and yet otherwise boring looking information into a visual display that fits into, or alongside, ordinary text. One day it will be big. It deserves to be.