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beeker85

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Reply with quote  #1 
When reviewing the box-and-whisker plots in Chapters 6 and 10, I was surprised that bullet graphs were not also included. When computer screen space is at a premium, horizontal bullet graphs are also effective in ways similar to box-and-whisker plots. What was your rationale for omitting them?
sfew

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Reply with quote  #2 
beeker85 (aka, Eric),

I assume that you're not suggesting that I propose bullet graphs as an alternative to box plots, because they serve a much different purpose. Assuming that you're instead suggesting bullet graphs as a form of display that would be useful for visual data exploration and analysis, here's my answer. I originally created the bullet graph specifically as an alternative to dashboard gauges, that is as a way to display a single current measure of something (e.g., sales revenue), compared to something to provide meaningful context (e.g., the sales' target and/or last years performance on this date), along with a visual indication of its qualitative state (e.g., good, satisfactory, or poor performance). I never considered the bullet graph's use for anything other than dashboards and other displays that are used for rapid performance monitoring. It wasn't until after I wrote Now You See It that I realized it could be used for data exploration and analysis as well. This possibility finally occurred to me when I first took a look at Tableau Software's implementation of bullet graphs prior to their release in version 5 of the product. Now that I've been enlightened, I might describe the unique uses of bullet graphs for data exploration and analysis in the second edition of Now You See It, assuming that I write one, but it won't be anytime soon.

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Stephen Few
beeker85

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Reply with quote  #3 
No, I didn't intend to mean bullet graphs should replace box-and-whisker plots. You understood correctly--I see value in them for evaluation and analysis of trend information as part of the analysis and evaluation process. Glad you have been enlightened that your invention is more useful than you originally conceived!
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