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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?

   
   
 
Total graphs make it easy for users to compare the totals of values in a quantitative data dimension that is associated with two categorical or aggregate data dimensions. You should not use a total graph to show totals of both positive and negative values. Total graphs are appropriate for experienced users. If you are considering using multiple graphs, see the Guidelines for Correlate and Compare 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
 
Show two categorical or aggregate dimensions, one of which has associated totals.
Yes
No
Yes
Emphasize trends in totals.
No
Yes
No
Show totals associated with a categorical (or aggregate) and a sequential dimension.
No
Yes
No
Show two categorical or aggregate dimensions, one of which has associated totals, and categories have long labels.
No
No
Yes
Note that key concepts such as "categorical data dimension" and "aggregate data dimension" are defined on the main Graph Type Pattern Set page.

Stacked Bar Graphs

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Stacked bar graphs represent totals of a quantitative dimension associated with two categorical or aggregate dimensions. In the following example, the bar heights represent the total sales volume for each year. The bars represent different years (an aggregate dimension). Colored segments within each bar represent sales prices aggregated into categories (a second aggregate dimension). The heights of the colored segments represent the total sales volume for each price category.

Stacked bar graphs make it easy for users to compare the total sales volume for different years. Accurate comparisons between different sales price categories, however, are possible only for the price category positioned at the bottom of each bar.

Stacked 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 Stacked Bar Not applicable
Stacked Area Graphs Return to Top

Stacked area graphs represent totals of a quantitative dimension associated with one sequential dimension and one categorical or aggregate dimension. The following example uses the same data set as the previous stacked bar graph example. Instead of bars, however, the areas between the bar segment heights are filled in with color. The heights of the colored shapes represent the total sales volume for each price category. The total height of the graph represents the total sales volume for each year.

Both graphs are appropriate because the data dimension on the horizontal axis is both aggregated and sequential. The stacked area graph emphasizes trends in the sequential data. While the stacked bar graph emphasizes the values in the sequential dimension, the individual years, the stacked area graph emphasizes the trends across the years.

Stacked Area Graph

Required Screen Elements
Component Type Required Components Customizable/Extendable Components
Graph The graph type for this pattern is Area and the sub-type is Vertical Stacked Area Not applicable
 
Horizontal Stacked Bar Graphs Return to Top

Horizontal stacked bar graphs represent totals of a quantitative data dimension associated with two categorical or aggregate dimensions. Like horizontal bar graphs, stacked horizontal bar graphs may be used for very long bar labels, for fitting the graph into a rectangular region that is short and wide, or to emphasize duration when the total values are measurements along a temporal dimension.

Horizontal Stacked 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 Stacked Bar Not applicable
 
 
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