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Information Display

The Information Display pattern group helps project managers, developers, and designers select visualization techniques such as tables and graphs, which enable users to understand the meaning and significance of the numbers. Numbers are central to a user's understanding of business, and they help users make informed decisions.

 
Pattern Filter Tool

Are you looking for the right graph and chart representation?

   
   
 
You should use category graphs to show and compare simple positive or negative quantities that are associated with one or more categorical or aggregate data dimensions. If you are considering using multiple graphs, see the Guidelines to Using Multiple Graphs.
 
Pattern Set Decision Table Return to Top
  Single-Quantity Graphs
Single-Quantity Graphs
Multi-Quantity Graphs
Multi-Quantity Graphs
Category Graphs
Category Graphs
Percentage Graphs
Percentage Graphs
Total Graphs
Total Graphs
Task: What data do you want to show or compare?
Single quantities with optional thresholds
Relationships between quantitative dimensions
Categories associated with simple quantities
Categories associated with percentages
Categories associated with totals
Pattern Samples Return to Top
  Bar Graph Horizontal Bar Clustered Bar Horizontal
Clustered Bar
User Type Casual Casual Experienced Experienced
Show quantities associated with one categorical or aggregate data dimension Yes Yes No No
Show quantities associated with one categorical or aggregate data dimension when categories have long labels or the display area is short and wide No Yes No No
Show quantities associated with two or more categorical or aggregate data dimensions No No Yes Yes
Show quantities associated with two or more categorical or aggregate data dimensions when categories have long labels or the display area is short and wide No No No Yes
Note that key concepts such as categorical data dimension and aggregate data dimension are defined on the main Charts and Graphs Pattern Set page.

Bar Graphs

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Bar graphs represent two data dimensions. Each bar usually represents a different category. The bar heights represent an associated quantity. Bars may also represent aggregate data, such as quarterly or yearly sales.

Because bar height represents a quantity, the vertical scale of a bar graph should always include zero. For this reason, variations of bar graphs are most effective for showing values that vary widely or that are close to zero. When showing similar values that are far from zero, the bar heights will tend to look the same. In this case, a category line graph may be appropriate.

Bar Graph

Image 1: Bar Graph

Horizontal Bar Graphs Return to Top
Use a horizontal bar graph for very long bar labels or for fitting the graph into a rectangular region that is short and wide.

Horizontal Bar Graph

Image 2: Horizontal Bar Graph

Required Screen Elements
Component Type Required Components Customizable/Extendable Components
Graph the graph type for this pattern is Bar and the sub-type is Horizontal Bar Not applicable

Clustered Bar Graphs

Clustered bar graphs represent three data dimensions. Like a regular bar graph, the bars represent one dimension, with each bar usually representing a different category. The bar heights represent an associated quantity. In addition, each cluster of bars represents a third data dimension, which is typically a hierarchical grouping of the bar categories.

Clustered Bar Graph

Image 3: Clustered Bar Graph

Required Screen Elements
Component Type Required Components Customizable/Extendable Components
Graph The graph type for this pattern is Bar and the sub-type is Vertical Clustered Bar Not applicable

Horizontal Clustered Bar Graphs

Horizontal clustered bar graphs represent three data dimensions, just like a regular clustered bar graph turned on its side. Use a horizontal clustered bar graph for very long bar labels or for fitting the graph into a rectangular region that is short and wide.

Clustered Bar Graph

Image 4: Horizontal Clustered Bar Graph

Required Screen Elements
Component Type Required Components Customizable/Extendable Components
Graph The graph type for this pattern is Bar and the sub-type is Horizontal Clustered Bar Not applicable
 
 
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