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The fundamentals of management information – R


Bissantz Bild

Radar charts

Profile chart that is nice to view but difficult to interpret. The more objects you wish to display, the stronger the lines overlap which makes them harder to label. Bella feels that makes them even worse than → mosaic displays. As with all other charts, a graphic table displays the same information in a way that is easier to read and supports more attributes.


A criterion for quality reports that is frequently misunderstood. The saying that a picture is worth a thousand words does not automatically apply to graphics. The faces of clocks and analog gauges are nice – and all that we had in previous times. In addition to the current time or rpm, they also show how must time remains before an appointment or how close you are to redlining the engine. On the other hand, speed is easier to read from a digital display. Embellishments such as bold, italics, background colors, lines, etc. often make things more difficult to read. White space and gaps are more suitable for arranging, grouping, and separating things. In DeltaMaster, you can use the automatic table layout to ensure optimal readability. It creates white space where it belongs and prevents the use of bold or italics.

Real-time control

Controlling business processes as the day’s events unfold. Many sparks of insight fizzle out in monthly reports, and many problems are only visible when you observe them on a daily or hourly basis. We advocate systems that visualize the process cycle instead of just the status. Management, in our opinion, has the overview to recognize the need for strategic decisions amidst operational chaos. If CXOs were customers of their own companies more often, many things would run differently. DeltaMaster offers sophisticated → animation functionality and can fill monitor walls with → high-resolution information. Both are necessary to visualize cycles – whether in production, services, or sales.

Report rules

Guidelines for designing reports and → charts that are universally accepted. (See → notation for more on formal design rules). Examples of content-related design rules include: time runs from left to right (→ time rule), KPIs belong one beneath the other (→ KPI rule), and current and cumulated belong together (→ cumulation rule). In real-world usage, conflicts may emerge that show the rules have a hierarchical order and, therefore, the more important rule has prevalence. A good report and chart design, in other words, is always a compromise. These rules are set up accordingly in the default settings and → report templates of DeltaMaster.


The ultimate benchmark for designing reports and advertisements. Resolution determines how much information can be brought within → eyespan. Many technical advancements – such as better microscopes and telescopes, more compact circuit boards, and additional pixels on monitors – can be measured as additional resolution. But beware: the good old slideshows of days gone by use slides with an incredibly high resolution. The resolution of today’s projectors is tiny in comparison and a major step back! But salvation is near. In the same amount of wall space needed for an LCD projection, you can set up a monitor wall that offers 18 to 24 times more resolution. DeltaMaster already offers report formats for large monitors and video walls.

Rule of competing channels

Describes the phenomenon that people can only easily and consistently process elements of a → chart when they are very close to each other. People decode charts using a comparably slow working memory that, in turn, has three sub-memories for visual, verbal, and symbolic processing that rarely get in each other’s way. When the text, numbers, and form of a chart complement another, people will quickly understand them because the channels strengthen each other. Inconsistencies among the channels can occur when the elements’ positioning is not optimal because the eye associates a new location with a new meaning. In other words, when the label, number, and graphical element are scattered in the chart, the working memory must work harder to fix the inconsistencies. Astonishingly, even small distances can break relationships. We paid close attention to this rule while designing the → templates in DeltaMaster.

Rule of eye path effort

Describes the negative correlation between eye path and → attention. As the eye path of a report becomes longer and more complicated, people have a harder time reading it and paying attention. When you are reading numbers vertically and then have to make a horizontal jump to view a chart, this disrupts the flow and is very strenuous. The charts in DeltaMaster are designed to ensure an optimal eye path.

Rule of three

Cognitive rule of classification. You can reduce the complexity of the world by cre­ating a description and classification into three groups (e.g. like, neutral, don’t like). Classifying things into two groups is dogmatic (e.g. believers vs. non-believers), four is unclear, and five is more precise than you can really say. The same applies to how you would group data elements in DeltaMaster.