Sometimes visualizations are really bad at conveying information about an entire data set, but really good at telling a story about just a couple data points. Case in point? This chart tracking global browser market share from 2009 to 2015, which shows how Google destroyed Microsoft in the browser wars.
This visualization is objectively terrible at giving an accurate overview of how the browser wars of the last few years have played out. For example, what the heck’s happening with Firefox, circa late 2011? Did its market share just plummet overnight? Definitely not: It was a slow decline, as this other chart representing the same data makes clear. Yet as a bump chart, the gradual nature of this decline is confusing as hell.
So why do we like it? For one reason: It really highlights how Google Chrome came out of nowhere to destroy Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and its domination of the web browser market. While we take for granted today that Google is a browser giant, the meteoric rise of Chrome is ultimately a design story about how a lightweight, speedy, and minimalist browser stopped a clunky juggernaut that didn’t give a shit about adhering to design standards in its tracks.
Chrome might have become a little less spry and more bloated with age, but its triumph over Internet Explorer was a triumph of design. As Microsoft puts Internet Explorer out to pasture and introduces its next-gen Project Spartan browser–which feels, in its disruptive intent, sort of like Chrome did back in the day–you’ve got to wonder if the tables will turn themselves all over again.