27 February 2014

Nutrition information label

So today designers have been looking at FDA nutrition information labels. The FDA have proposed an improvement of the existing label:

Not too shabby. But like a lot of people, I like to think about the proportions between carbs, protein, and fat I'm getting in what I eat. Figuring that out requires math, since a gram of protein or carbohydrate has four calories, but a gram of fat has nine. So it would be nice to also show that:

I also snipped off the “Nutrition Facts” caption at the top because, duh.

But having started tinkering, I was annoyed by a common bad information design pattern: the captions for the different nutrients are displayed stronger than the amounts. That's the opposite of what you want: the emphasis should be on the data. Once I succumbed to the temptation to reverse that, I got a little carried away.

I tried to make the “Calories” header do double duty for the total and the column I've added on the right, but that could use some more finesse. Maybe this needs more than fifteen minutes' experimentation.

Update: I've found a cornucopia of nutrition information displays.

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