Uniformity of data nature The data in the grid (or list) is uniform by its (data) nature. There is no difference between row 7 and row 22. The representation of the same information must be the same… Because otherwise there is a question: – if all rows are equivalent – why to represent them in different ways?!
Non-uniformity of data view The data representation in the grid (or list) is not uniform by visual design. There is difference between row 7 and row 22. The representation of the same information is not the same… And there is a question again: – if all rows are equivalent – why to represent them in different ways?!
Conclusion. Zebra is a problem! Fundamental nature & universe principle screwed up. It is like painting 50% of people clothes to one color and another 50% of people clothes to another color. Visualization contradicts with nature.
Solution. Don’t paint! Simply, don’t paint presumably. Data shows itself. It is like not painting people clothes at all , but let them wear what they like. Everybody shows her/him-self. No force, everybody shows up as they are.
There is a study, showing that majority of people likes Zebra, while there is a big minority that does not:
44% vs. 36%
Regarding this study, there are concerns about the table design:
too wide column names
too short data values
i.e. bad visual design…
link to the tested table image
What if table visual design was better? Would study by ‘A List Apart’ mag give different numbers? link
There were ways for better data visualization:
shorten column names’ widths
balance cell sizes
avoid too much whitespace (for easier eye track of a row)
link to the tested table image Zebra lovers might result to ~25% or less!
What other studies say? link to E.Tufte board, with multiple ruminations and opinions. There are good arguments that zebra is for referees with reference to ‘Envisioning Information’ book ( link to Amazon) link to zebras