Charts & Data Overview


1. Lines: Continuous Data

Temperature (70º 90ºF)
Stock market prices ($8 $9)
Weight (90 120 lbs)
Age (30-40 years old)

2. Bars: Categorical Data (Distinct Data)

– Countries (USA, Russia, China)
– Beetles (LadyBug Beetle, Japanese Beetle, Dung Beetle)
– Colors (Pink, Purple)


View Poster With Examples
1. Lines

Examples – a quick google images search: Line Charts

  • Classic form
  • Show trends
  • Good for comparing over time
  • Continuous data

–> Common mistakes: Unnecessary legends, 3D, correlations not causation

2. Bars

A quick google images search: Bar Charts

  • Classic form
  • Precise comparisons
  • Distinct data

–> Common mistakes: Non zero baselines, random ordering of items

3. Bubble & Pie

Examples – a quick google images search: Pie Charts & Bubble Charts

  • Parts of a Whole
  • Use sparingly

–> Common mistakes: Too many pieces in a pie chart, complex legends, Not adding to 100%


4. Scatterplot

A scatter plot (also called a scatterplot, scatter graph, scatter chart, scattergram, or scatter diagram) is a type of plot or mathematical diagram using Cartesian coordinates to display values for typically two variables for a set of data. If the points are coded (color/shape/size), one additional variable can be displayed. The data are displayed as a collection of points, each having the value of one variable determining the position on the horizontal axis and the value of the other variable determining the position on the vertical axis. (wikipedia)

Examples – a quick google images search: Scatterplot Charts

  • Showing relationships
  • Individual data points

–>Common mistakes: Drawing dubious conclusions, Not adding a trend line

5. Treemaps & Sunbursts

Treemaps display hierarchical (tree-structured) data as a set of nested rectangles. Each branch of the tree is given a rectangle, which is then tiled with smaller rectangles representing sub-branches. A leaf node’s rectangle has an area proportional to a specified dimension of the data. Often the leaf nodes are colored to show a separate dimension of the data. (wikipedia)

Examples – a quick google images search: Treemap Charts

  • Parts of a whole
  • Complex divisions

Read more here about Treemaps & Sunburst Charts

6. Waffle

Waffle Charts, also called Square charts, are a form of pie charts that use squares instead of circles  to represent percentages.

Examples – a quick google images search: Waffle Charts

  • Parts of a whole
  • Showing composition
7. Small Multiples

A small multiple (sometimes called trellis chart, lattice chart, grid chart, or panel chart) is a series of similar graphs or charts using the same scale and axes, allowing them to be easily compared. It uses multiple views to show different partitions of a dataset. The term was popularized by Edward Tufte. (wikipedia)

Examples – a quick google images search: Small Multiple Charts

  • Repetition
  • Compare small changes
8. Maps & Cartograms

A Map chart allows us to visualize spatial relationships in data by indicating data on a geographical map. There are two main types: 1. Geographical Points and 2 Geographical Areas. (wikipedia)

A cartogram chart is a map in which some thematic mapping variable – such as travel time, population, or GNP – is substituted for land area or distance. The geometry or space of the map is distorted, sometimes extremely, in order to convey the information of this alternate variable. (wikipedia)

Examples – a quick google images search: Map Charts & Cartogram Charts

  • Geographic information
  • Place & Location is important
  • Compare countries/states/cities

Read more here about Cartogram Charts

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