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Dec 2, 2015

What Chart Type Should I Use?

We discuss the intricacies of all the different chart types. When should you use each one and what overarching methodology can you apply to guide your future choices?

Why Should I Care?

This is a fair question. I mean, a chart is a chart is a chart right? Wrong! You need to care! 
The whole point of data visualization is to bring meaning to the data. The hidden insights can only be revealed if the information is communicated properly and that is why you should care. 
If you don’t expose the insights, then why are you even bothering to visualize it? You’re just wasting your time.

How Do I Choose?

Luckily for you, there are really smart people that have broken down this process for you! Andrew Abela made this flow so your life is just that much easier.

How Do I Read this Diagram?

Well, first you start in the middle… duh. Then, you need to decide what type of relationship you are trying to communicate. Here are the definitions of the four categories laid out for you. 
Relationship: This is when you want to highlight how two things are correlated, or how they are not. How does a change in one thing, affect the other. Ex, transaction costs are going up and profit is going down.
Comparison: This is when you want to highlight the differences or similarity between two things. Ex. Revenue from Brazil vs Revenue from Argentina
Composition: This is when you have a whole and you want to show of what is it made. Ex, you have a certain amount of cash outflows, how much of it is utilities and how much of it is bonuses. 
Distribution: This is pretty similar to relationship but it will involve raw data points. You can use it to bring out relationships but you forgo usual aggregation. 
After you understand the differences here you should be good so long as you pay attention to the flow chart ;) 

What Charts Can I Build in Slemma?

We have a wide huge variety of charts available for your visualization needs! At the time of this article’s publication the list includes:
  1. Columns
    • Stacked
    • 100% Stacked
    • Histogram
    • Bullet
  2. Bar
    • Stacked
    • 100% Stacked
    • Histogram
    • Bullet
  3. Line
    • Spline
    • Step line
    • Line with Markers
  4. Area
    • Stacked Area
    • 100% Stacked Area
    • Step Area
  5. Pie
    • Donut
    • Donut with total
    • Funnel
    • Treemap
  6. Maps
    • Filled 
    • Symbol
  7. Scatter Plot
    • Scatter 
    • Bubble
  8. Cross Table
    • Raw Data Table
  9. Single Values
    • Progress Bar
    • Gauge
  10. Word Clouds
    • Pictorial (amount)
    • Pictorial (size)
How do you choose which charts to use? Let us know! If you have any more questions about this or anything, don't hesitate to let us know at Happy Dashboarding!

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