Friday, October 24, 2008

To the San Francisco Chronicle - Shades of Gray is the New Black

I'm in San Francisco this week for a conference and I picked up a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle, courtesy of my hotel. Now, I usually don't comment on something as mundane as the weather maps in newspapers but the Chrons' weather map of the Bay Area was so bad that I just couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Hello Chron! I can't read your weather map...it's just...gray! There are no shades of gray...just light gray that is impossible to read...with a whole lot of text that is equally hard to read. I think they try to show terrain features but that's a wasted attempt. You can't distinguish roads from county boundaries. And then there are these oblong dots on the map to show air quality. Again...just gray; not a graduated symbols which would be a marked improvement...no, no, they went for a gray dot.

Here's a suggestion. Use color, cut down on the number of cities listed, and try to accentuate the geographic boundaries. If you want to show air quality, use a graduated sympbol...with color. You may even get subscribers to actually read your weather forecasts.

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