Selecting the Right One for your data – Tables or Charts
Tables – Tables are essentially the source for all the charts. They are best used for comparison, composition, or relationship analysis when there are only a few variables and data points. It would not make much sense to create a chart if the data can be easily interpreted from the table.
Charts – Bar charts are good for comparisons, while line charts work better for trends. Scatter plot charts are good for relationships and distributions, but pie charts should be used only for simple compositions, never for comparisons or distributions.
1. Are you interested in analyzing trends in your data set?
If you want to know more information about how a data set performed during a specific time period, there are specific chart types that do extremely well.
You should choose a: Line, Dual-Axis Line, Column
Design Best Practices for Line Graphs:
- Use solid lines only.
- Don’t plot more than four lines to avoid visual distractions.
- Use the right height so the lines take up roughly 2/3 of the y-axis’
2. Do you need to interpret comparison from your data set?
If you want to track the development of one or two variables over time. Ranking charts, usually bar charts that integrate rank calculations, top n sets, or key progress indicators.
You should choose a: Bar chart
Design Best Practices for Bar Graphs:
- Use consistent colors throughout the chart, selecting accent colors to highlight meaningful data points or changes over time.
- Use horizontal labels to improve readability.
- Start the y-axis at 0 to appropriately reflect the values in your graph
Read Part 2 Here.