Introducing the Annielytics Chart Picker
Click thumbnail for larger image. Press Esc key or click Close to send it packin’.
Why a Chart Picker?
You can find all kinds of resources online that will group charts into intuitive categories. However, they still leave you wondering if your dataset will work for a particular chart type. For example, you might want to rock a bubble chart to impress your boss (especially around annual review time), but if your dataset doesn’t have three metrics, you might waste valuable time going through a tutorial your dataset doesn’t qualify for.
So, in addition to listing the required number of categories and metrics in each of the tutorials in the book, I’ve created this chart picker that gives you the minimum requirements for each chart type.
I’ll break down each of the columns:
This is just the title of the chart type. You can reference an image of that chart type by selecting it from the gallery. Both the table and gallery are ordered alphabetically to ease in referencing.
Click a thumbnail to see a larger image, then press the Esc key or click Close to close it. You can see all the charts in the book by viewing the Gallery.
This is a pretty subjective categorization. Some charts are easy to understand but are very difficult to create, such as the gauge chart. And some charts are easy to create but can be troublesome to analyze for the uninitiated. So I took into consideration both of those facets of the chart creation process.
Chart types are broken into seven categories:
- Comparison: These charts are good for comparing the performance of metrics or categories.
- Trend: These charts have a time component in the horizontal axis.
- Composition: These charts demonstrate how a part contributes to the whole.
- Distribution: These charts are used in statistics and display the frequencies or occurrences of various outcomes in a sample. (Spoiler alert: box plots are my actual fave.)
- Relationship: These charts help you find correlations, like if mean girls are more likely to wear pink on Wednesdays. Spoiler alert: One of the visualizations isn’t actually a chart.
- Progress: These charts very simply help you see your progress toward a goal. I know, I know. You’re not supposed to use the word you’re defining in a definition. Whatever. 🙄
- Map: These charts enable you to put geographical data on a map. Way cooler than using a table or pretty much any other chart (most times).
Some charts might fall into more than one category, but I had to pick one for the book. Sometimes sacrifices
Many of the charts in the book are hacks, such as the slope and dumbbell charts. Some are created by applying obscure settings, such as the baseline delta chart. But only chart types that are listed in the ribbon are considered built in.
Okay, this one gets a little tricky. If you see a table that has “Male” and “Female” in the columns and Revenue in the rows, it might be easy to think of it as having two categories and one metric. In actuality, it has only one category (“Gender”). How it would show up in a database is how it’s broken down here. Ergo, if your category elements come to you splayed across your columns, don’t be fooled—even if it comes from a government site.
If there’s a maximum number of metrics you can use, that will be noted in the book. This table is all about minimums. However, there are times the number of categories you use will determine how many metrics you can plot. For example, with the area chart, if you plot one category, you can use multiple metrics. But if you plot two categories (as we do in the book), you can only use one metric.
How to Use It
Below are a few of the features of the table, from top to bottom:
- Clear Filters: This option will clear your filters but not the search field.
- Show Entries: Pick the number of rows you want to view at one time in the upper-left corner of the table.
- Search: If you want to see all column charts, drop ‘column’ into the search field.
- Sort: You can sort the table by any column by clicking the column heading. Click it once for ascending and again for descending. If your table is sorted, the column you’re sorting by will turn blue.
- Filter: You can filter by any column using the filters at the bottom of the table. For example, drop ‘no’ into the Built In? column, and you’ll see only the hacktastic charts.
- Pagination: Advance pages using the pagination links in the bottom-right corner.