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Posts: 33
Reply with quote  #1 

Here's an interesting design that I saw - not seen this one before

Sparklines inside a horizontal bar chart

Thinks I like about it
- it's a bar chart :-)
- muted non-data
- horizontal allowing good labels
- etc, all the good things about a bar chart

Things I don't like about it:
- the sparklines are distracting when trying to read the bar chart
- the sparklines are hard to compare across the x-axis due to inconsistent horizontal alignment
- I prefer having the values in a column of their own rather than as labels at the end of the bars

Putting the sparklines back into a column of their own would fix the readability issues.
It's an interesting idea. I do sometimes get tired of only using the basic chart types and experimenting is fun - sometimes lots of failures lead to a lightbulb.

Peter Robinson
in Brisbane, Australia

Posts: 192
Reply with quote  #2 
As Peter noticed, they are several serious downsides of this design to never consider it a solution. A simple 3 columns alignment for sparklines, values and horizontal bars would do just fine.

However, what is more sad about it are the comments below the article. Is sad to see how "wow" factor of this "new" idea impress the audience. It just confirms my fear that more and more "different" is more valued than "efficient".

Posts: 853
Reply with quote  #3 

This is not a new idea. I'm sure that many people have considered this possibility, which I certainly did soon after Tufte introduced sparklines, but quickly abandoned it for the reasons that you've explained. Another problem with this that you didn't mention involves bars that are too short for the sparklines to fit into them.

Stephen Few
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