Best social media engagement periods, infographic rebooted

This is data-geekery, but sometimes I’ll run across diagrams with valuable information and they’re difficult to utilize because they’ve been designed to go viral, rather than with handiness in mind. This social media chart by @SumAll ( is one of those. It has great information about the best and worst periods for posting content to a variety of social media channels. The problems are:

  • The color-coding doesn’t communicate anything useful other than the brands.
  • The time period numbers don’t align with the time they correspond to.
  • The timeline doesn’t communicate relevant context like the typical workday or daytime to reveal which networks are for night owls (e.g.).
  • The good and bad timelines are divorced, so you can’t see the “okay” periods.
  • The watch artwork serves no purpose other than visual noise because there’s no a.m./p.m. distinction.

Don’t make Tufte cry.

Here’s the Before

Social Media Engagement Periods - Before

Here’s the After

Social Media Engagement Periods

Now, sure. Their version may look more fun, with the cat and all. Mine is the one a social media person may print out and glance at though, without needing to mentally dissect the information through the cruft. What I focused on:

  • Order the networks from earliest to latest peak engagement periods, to allow someone to work down the list through the day.
  • Show highest and lowest periods, using tone more than color, to address color blindness concerns.
  • Mark “M” for midnight and “N” for noon, to avoid the awkward military time.
  • Show daylight hours and workday hours.

What would make it better? There’s always room for improvement:

  • Brand icons next to the names would give it a quicker visual scan.
  • I could add a color key, but I believe the meanings here are fairly apparent, so meh.

Duplicating pages in-place in InDesign

I don’t know why I didn’t Google this until today, but it’s always bothered me the default “Duplicate Spread” feature in InDesign tosses your new page to the end of your document—always forcing you to have to drag it elsewhere.

To duplicate a page inline with the page you’re actively working on, hold down your option key (Mac OS) and drag the page you want to duplicate into the position you want it duplicated to (usually right after the master you’re duplicating from).

It seems the default should be to duplicate in-line, in the context of where you are working in the document. I’m not sure of a use-case where I’d want a single page thrown to the end of the document, unless I’m duplicating a batch of pages into a new chapter. In that event, I’d rather the single page duplicate in-line by default and a multi-select of pages request a decision similar to the PDF insert pages dialog.

Stop asking me to log in! Progressive authentication

I use the Fidelity app to manage a lump of rainy-day, retirement money. One of the features I love about the app is the home screen, where it summarizes today’s “movers” (best and worst performing) among the stocks and funds I’ve invested in. Now, this home screen doesn’t need to tell me how many shares of each I own or how much money I’ve made or lost, but it quickly tells me if I need to be paying attention. It gives me personalized, public information.

—or at least it would, if it didn’t require me to log in to see it. Continue reading →