What happens if you combine 3D WITH fading axes?

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I really hope this blog doesn’t become just a continuous series of rants around my pet peeves regarding data visualization. But…I stumbled across the following in a white paper about measuring visitor engagement on a web site.

This chart was generated from Unica’s Affinium NetInsight product. Unica is a great product, from everything I’ve heard. And, they seem to have a sharp acquisition strategy, based on their buying Sane (with NetTracker) several years ago.

But…this chart is pretty awful. It highlights how downright silly a gratuitous third dimension is. But, the “gradient to white” move on the Y-axis was a new one on me. Search engines 1 through 5 all actually have a value of 3. I did manage to figure this out without looking at the data itself in the report…but it was 3 beats more of mental exertion than it should have been.

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