I Can See Clearly Now

By James Wood

In his masterful book on visual design, Beautiful Evidence, Edward Tufte has an extended discussion of “sparklines.” If you don’t already know, a sparkline is a small graphical representation of data, usually in the form of a line graph. Tufte says sparklines are: “data-intense, design-simple, word-sized graphics.” Rather than showing all of the information necessary in one, confused graph, the data is broken out into discreet chunks to be analyzed separately. Whether looking at stock performance, medical data or the average rainfall in the Amazon rainforest, sparklines can be used to make the raw numerical data comprehensible at a glance.

According to Tufte, information isn’t enough nor is beautiful design, but both together work in concert to convey more than either could alone. Being able to see at a glance that the DOW was up for the day, but only after steep mid-day losses versus the steady gains experienced by the S&P 500 gives more information than just the end-of-day numbers.

In order for sparklines to work, however, the resolution needs to be very high. Traditional displays are too blocky to show the minute detail necessary for sparklines so Tufte’s brilliant design concept has been unused due to the limitations of technology. With high definition displays the sparklines are finely differentiated and subtly show the vital information.

Clarity Matrix display walls offer a stunning 1920 by 1080 pixels of resolution per display. Each individual component of a Clarity Matrix wall is full HD resolution by itself with over 2 million pixels on a screen. When you start adding up the pixels for a nine panel wall you start seeing the power of an image with 18 million pixels. The finest detail is crisp and sharp.

So, when you need to know an enormous amount of information about dozens or even hundreds of individual items, take advantage of the design genius of Tufte and the technological brilliance of Planar. The Clarity Matrix display will allow you to clearly see the performance of each individual company in the NASDAQ at a glance or the vital statistics for all of the patients in a medical trial laid out together.