Conflicting Hierarchy

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organization - has to do with the arrangement of elements, placed specifically to convey relationships between them
proximity - has to do with the relationship of elements based on how close or far away they are form each other
hierarchy - is the order of importance given across multiple elements based on their placement, size, color, font, etc.

The food pyramid has been subject to bad hierarchical design for years. For starters, the hierarchy is upside down. Culturally, we read from top to bottom and expect the most important information to be at the top. However, the food pyramid, the largest food group (grains) is placed at the bottom with the food group we are to avoid (fats) placed at the top. To follow our cultural hierarchy, should not the pyramid be turned upside down? http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6d/USDA_Food_Pyramid.gif

Many attempts have been made to revise the pyramid, but these have been just as problematic. The MyPyramid has no top-down structure of reading, but instead is formatted let to right in a pyramid grid. This is conflicting because the pyramid is a top-down structure. Why use a pyramid if the information is not going to be displayed in way to conforms to the shape? Furthermore, it's near impossible to distinguish between the size the different food groups, making it difficult for any order of importance or hierarchy to be found. http://www.foodpyramid.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/MyPyramid2.jpg

But doing away with the pyramid has not solved problems. The MyPlate contains the same hierarchical issues with it being difficult to distinguish between the different sizes of food groups and what is more important than the other. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/images/MyPlateImages/JPG/myplate_blue.jpg

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