Analysis and redesign of bank graph

February 15, 2010

in Student Posts

By Faisal Khan and Shuang Huang


This design is believed to be a bad one, since it gives the audience the information that JP Morgan performs better than all the competitors. The comparison is a bit misleading by using the size of circles.

Problem definition:

The graph is to show the shrinkage of banks from 2007 to 2009.


1.    Time: Two time points, Q2 2007 and 01/20/2009.

2.    Bank: A categorical variable.

3.    Market value: The market value of each bank at each time point, and unit is billion dollars.


Compare the difference of performance among banks. Especially, show JP Morgan’s good performance.

Mapping and Encoding:

  1. Each bank’s market values are shown in two circles, old one surrounding current value.
  2. Green represents current market value and blue means old one.
  3. The value is proportional to circle size. So the size of the circle represents the market value.
  4. The banks are ordered arbitrarily.
  5. Citibank, which does not perform well, is placed in the center of the graph.


  1. The graph tends to show JP Morgan performs best. Actually, it is not the best neither in current market value, nor percentage of shrinkage.
  2. The order of placing the banks is arbitrary.
  3. There are no specific criteria to compare the performance.

New graph:

  1. It orders the bank based on the current market values.
  2. It shows the percentage of shrinkage clearly by listing the exact number.
  3. It uses more common technique and is easy to understand.
  4. It does not highlight any bank, and makes the comparison fair.

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