Graphics in Proxies: Too Much of a Good Thing?
Here’s the intro from this blog by Cooley’s Cydney Posner:
Is it just me? Am I the only one that finds having to decipher a load of graphics in a proxy statement to be somewhat daunting on occasion? Inclusion of graphics in lieu of copious text has been almost de rigueur in proxy statements for several seasons now as a way to facilitate comprehension of sometimes complex data. And most often, those graphics are relatively effective for that purpose. As we head into the 2018 proxy season, however, this piece on CFO.com suggests that some forms of visual presentation may be, well, a lot more useful than others.
According to the article, featuring some graphics does make sense because research has shown that people “process visual information faster than verbal information. And we do it with a part of the brain that requires less energy.” That’s especially true with line and bar charts. Where things get trickier, the article suggests, is with pie charts: “a pie chart often makes it hard to figure out the exact magnitude of a data point (a slice) and uses a lot of text to display very little data. It also forces readers to rapidly move their eyes back and forth between the legend and the graphic to interpret the data. A simple table can be a lot more elegant, experts say.”
And more sophisticated tools, such as “exploding 3-D pie charts” can compound the problem, according to one academic. He also took issue with “stacked bar charts,” according to the article, “’because they make estimating the values of the variables on the top of the bars difficult.’”
Tomorrow’s Webcast: “Handling the Proxy Season – The In-House Perspective”
Tune in tomorrow for the webcast – “Handling the Proxy Season: The In-House Perspective” – to hear Intuit’s Betsy McBride, Juniper Networks’ Shahzia Rahman and Oracle’s Renee Strandness discuss how to prepare for the proxy season from the in-house perspective…
– Broc Romanek