This is the first of three columns that will feature the winners of DM Review's 2005 data visualization competition. I want to extend my sincere appreciation to all of you who submitted solutions to the competition. I enjoyed many hours of studying and comparing your responses in an effort to select the best and learn something from them all. In this column, I am focusing on the first scenario of the competition, which involved the visual display of salary expenses along the dimensions of time, department and exempt versus non-exempt employees. Here are the requirements of the scenario as presented to participants in the competition:

This scenario involves the display of departmental salary expenses. It is used by the VP of Human Resources to compare the salary expenses of the company's eight departments as they fluctuate through time, in total and subdivided between the exempt and non-exempt employees.

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