Mittwoch, 31. Oktober 2012

Spooky Charts

The whole team had a lot of fun creating a custom theme for Halloween and inventing new authorities like the Bureau of Eerie Analysis, Statistics and Transformation (BEAST).

The interactive version of the chart can be found here.

Download custom theme

We will be adding the Halloween theme and other custom themes to the download section of our website soon.

Halloween retail spending

It`s Halloween shopping season and it's interesting to see that people spend more on costumes and candy than ever before.

In 2012, 15% will even put a costume on their pet. The most popular pet costume was a pumpkin (12.7%), devil (6.9%) or hot dog (5.7%). Bon appetit.

3.7% will be dressing their dog up like a cat. How weird is that?
The interactive version of the chart can be found here.

Freitag, 17. August 2012

Line chart

Best practices for charting and data visualization

This is the first article in a series focused on providing tips and techniques for using charts and graphs, not only for ArcadiaCharts but for every other charting tool. We’ll be examining what makes a chart successful and which chart type should be used to display different kinds of information.

Part 1: Line Charts

Line charts are the most basic chart type. They display information as a series of data points connected by straight line segments. This type of chart is used to show how one thing changes over time or under the influence of some other variable. Line charts are great for visualizing the underlying pattern that the values represent.

A line chart should be your first choice if you want to present huge amounts of data in a single line. Compared to bar and pie charts, line charts can handle the greatest amounts of data to the degree where the distance between data points is so small that no line segments are necessary.  However, keep in mind that a line chart with more than three lines looks cluttered and can become unintelligible.
A line chart with only some points scattered across the plot area without the connecting line segments is called a scatter graph. A line chart in which the area between the plotted line and the axis / zero line is filled is called an area chart.

Use line charts:

  • For time series.
  • To show the relative improvement when measuring progress towards a goal.
  • When you want to display only parts of the y-axis. Here is an example how proper adjusting of your scale can improve your chart. Scatter or area charts are useful as well, but try to avoid this with bar charts.
  • When you want to use logarithmic axes.
  • To show trends, patterns, and spikes within a larger context, and to tell a story about how something continuously developed over time.

See, for example, how the gold price in this chart tells a story? It developed over the last 50 years with the largest peak in 1980 when high inflation, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, high oil prices, and the impact of Iranian revolution compelled investors to buy gold. It was only a small spike after which the price quickly fell. We are now experiencing a more stable price increase.

Don't use line charts:

  • When you have data without an obvious link. For example, if your data shows parts of a whole you will want to use a pie chart instead. (See this example)
  • If you want to visualize your values like individual totals and show every one of them as a value of its own. For example, if you want to show sales over a period of months you will want to use a bar chart instead.(See this example)
  • When you have too many lines with only a few values. Consider using a stacked/clustered bar chart or split the data into multiple charts.
When using area charts with multiple lines, be careful not to lose any data by covering it with an opaquely filled area. (See this example).

We hope these tips will help you use line charts to correctly display data. Check back soon for the next article in the series on using bar charts