DataViz Tip #30: Let Viewers Change Chart Type

When building an infographic you know exactly what your data looks like and can make an editorial decision on the best way to present it. For web applications, on the other hand, the shape and form of live data coming from some data source are not always known upfront. So, whatever you imagine about the data in the design phase may turn out slightly or majorly wrong in production. Even in the least extreme cases, the chart type you chose to visualize the data may not be the best one from viewers perspective considering both the data itself and the insights they are trying to gain from it.

A great way to mitigate this is giving viewers an opportunity to change the chart type or modify its properties.

The most simple form of this is letting viewers switch certain series off and on:

See the Pen amCharts V4: 100% Stacked column chart by amCharts (@amcharts) on CodePen.24419

(try clicking on the series names in the lagend)

Another common trick is to add a switch to change barchart from a stacked to a grouped (clustered) one as demonstrated here. One more common scenario is switching between a column and line chart.

On a more advanced scale you may give your viewers an opportunity to “straighten” a radar chart, for example, if looking at it in a bar chart form makes more sense to them:

See the Pen amCharts V4: Radar timeline chart by amCharts (@amcharts) on CodePen.24419

(drag the lowest slider all the way to the left)

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