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Posts: 192
Reply with quote  #16 
Stephen Few is also known for his invention in BI visualizations called Bullet Graph as a replacement for fancy gauges widely spread in dashboards in early 2000. Full design specifications you can find in the Library section of this site. Once you get familiar with it, it might occur to you as a good solution to display your different KPI variation in a clear, yet attractive way.

Sometimes, when available space allows it, I prefer to use instead of the symbol marker for comparative measure, another bar which makes easier both the visual comparison and values decoding using its own scale. I emphasized the current value using a distinct color. While the KPI's share the same scale for variation, a common axis in top of all KPI's and common performance interval colors will simplify the visual decoding process. I noticed that you are interested in seeing the variation in percentages, so I designed the common scale accordingly. If is a must you can add to the right of each KPI values and variations labels.

    several KPI's.png 


Posts: 192
Reply with quote  #17 
One extra comment related to both your attempts. When the amount of KPI to study is large (5+), your time variation chart will look very cluttered and you will run out of distinct colors. Above solution can be nicely extended with sparklines to display individual time variations. For that a slightly higher row will improve the visibility, allowing also enough space for annotations. 

I very much agree with Jlbriggs who said that data visualization requires design skills. However, with a thorough understanding of data visualizations principles it will be much easier to detect what makes a certain design effective. When data is displayed in an effective way, the design becomes also attractive. 

several KPI's 2.png  


Posts: 200
Reply with quote  #18 
@danz - "When data is displayed in an effective way, the design becomes also attractive."

Yes, that's one of the key principles of design. Design, contrary to popular belief, is not "Make this pretty".  It's "Make this function well for the user." Which, when done right, is very much the same as making it attractive - we tend to find the same things attractive as we do easy to read and use.

Obviously good design focuses directly on the visual appeal side of things as part of the overall user experience, but the bulk of the work is done by making things easy to use and understand, and the rest is polish.
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