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Selecting the right chart type for your data

SELECTING THE RIGHT CHART TYPE FOR YOUR DATA Once you have identified the audience for your chart, the metrics they need to see, and the data that will power the metrics, it is time to select the right chart type for your data. This selection depends on the type of data analysis your audience will need. In this infographic, we will see the common forms of data analysis for everyday business decisions, and the charts that facilitate them. COMMON FORMS OF DATA ANALYSIS COMPARISON OF DATA TRANSITION OF DATA COMPOSITION OF DATA To understand how a data value For identifying the highs and lows of data. Who is the best and worst Applied to time-based data to understand the trend of change. Has the website traffic been going up or down over the last 30 days? breaks down into its constituents. sales guy among 10 individuals? How does the website traffic break down into search, direct, referrals and campaigns? COLUMN CHART BAR CHART LINE CHART AREA CHART PIE CHART WATERFALL CHART WHO IS THE BEST SALESPERSON? LET'S COMPARE. $50K $49K James $50K $46K $44K $45K $40K $40K $35K $35K $35K $30K Alex $30K $26K $25K $20K $20K $15K $10K $0 Alex Marc David Graham Ted James Kate Seth Kevin Allen Salesperson Column and bar charts are very much alike in terms of main functionality, but they differ when it comes to the length of the label they can accommodate. Bar charts being horizontal can take in longer labels, so if we had to display the full name of the salespeople, the bar chart would be better. Allen Poe $30K And it can be even better if you arrange the data in descending order. However, this can only be done when Kevin Matt $35K the data is not time-based. Seth Outman $49K Kate Dillon $44K James Mathew $50K James Mathew $50K Seth Outman $49K Ted Kathy $46K Ted Kathy $46K Graham Stewart $40K Kate Dillon $44K David Bailey $35K Marc Robinson $26K Alex Mayers $20K $0 $10K $15K $20K $25K $30K $35K $40K $45K $50K Sales HAS THE WEBSITE TRAFFIC BEEN GOING UP OR DOWN OVER THE LAST 30 DAYS? LET'S SEE THE TREND. 400 O 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 Mar Apr Days The data points are connected to each other in a line chart, so it is easier for the human eye to understand the trend of change as opposed to the column and bar chart where each data point is separate. The area chart is very similar to the line chart and typically brings out the data better when used to plot a smaller set of data points since the entire area is colored. 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 Mar Apr Days The area chart however can be 'hard' on the eyes when the data has sudden spikes and falls. As a rule of thumb, whenever you are unsure of which chart to pick, just stick to the simpler line chart. WHAT IS THE BREAKDOWN OF THE WEBSITE TRAFFIC? LET'S SEE THE COMPOSITION. 37% Direct Traffic (2,690 visits) 5% Referral Traffic (396 visits) Points to remember when you are using the pie chart: If you have more than 6 values on the pie chart, sum up the smaller ones as Others. Do not use it if the user is required to sum up two values and compare it to another value. 2 58% Search Traffic (4,194 visits) Another specialized form of composition analysis is when you have to show how a value increases or decreases to come to a final value. The waterfall chart which is an advanced variant of the column chart faciliates this analysis. $700K $210K $630K $560K $420K $-170K $420K $320K $-140K $-310K $280K $140K $0 Product Services Total Fixed Variable Total Total Revenue Revenue Revenue Costs Costs Costs Profit It is a good idea to follow the universal code of green for values going up and and red for values going down. The next time you are creating a chart, be sure to understand what kind of analysis you want to faciliate and then select the chart type. An incorrect chart type can lead to incorrect analysis which in turn can lead to incorrect business decisions. Happy charting! FusionCharts Suite XT is the industry's most comprehensive charting solution with 90+ chart types, powerful reporting capabilities like drill-down and chart export, and most of all, a delightful charting experience. FusionCharts Data to delight... in minutes Check it out at www.fusioncharts.com Salesperson Sales Visits

Selecting the right chart type for your data

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The selection of the right chart type for your data depends on the kind of analysis your audience will need.

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