Why do our sports pages look like this?
Instead of this?
Those green and red lines are "sparklines"--a term invented, I believe, by Edward Tufte. They are little, word-size graphics that show a trend more quickly and clearly than one could describe it. In this case, each sparkline shows an NBA’s team record throughout the season; a green up bar is a win, and a red down bar is a loss.
In less space than a standard standings listing, we see the sustained excellence of the Pistons, the steadiness of the Spurs and Mavericks, the Raptors recovering from their awful start, the wheels falling off the Pacers, the mystery that is the Nets. These large multiples of small graphics recover some of the romance and drama that is a season.