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Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #1 
Hey guys,

Quick question....do you think people interpret the month on a line graph quicker if we give them the first letter of the month, or the number itself on the x-axis? Space is tight! I generally lean on MMM format.

I’ve seen some back and forth on this.... My opinion is that in general people interpret the number of the month quicker than the first letter of the month. We use numbers all the time in dates (ex. 6/5/16, 10-15-99 etc), so it should come quicker to us. First letters of the month not so much.

I would appreciate your thoughts!



Posts: 802
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Joe,

In my experience, if you must limit the labels to a single character for each month, the number of each month usually works best. Using single-character month names (J, F, M, A, M, J, J, A, S, O, N, D) is somewhat ambioguous because three months begin with J and two begin with M, which forces us to rely on their relative position to interpret them, and that takes moment. Numbers usually work well even when you have space for longer month labels. The only drawback is that when people are interested in a particular month (e.g., the month of May), it is a slightly easier task to locate "May" than "5" if you're thinking in terms of the month's name.

Stephen Few

Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you Steve. That was my inclination but thought I would check in with you on this. Much appreciated!
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