Monthly Archives: April 2015

Stack-cluster combination bar chart

Stacked and clustered (or grouped) bar charts are standard data visualization tools used for business purposes on a regular basis. Stacked charts are typically used to investigate components in a category that aggregate while cluster charts are typically used to measure components across categories that do not aggregate.

In example 1 we use the stacked bar chart to examine the Economic Enhancer components for the US Global Competitive Index across three time periods (published by the World Economic Forum). Here the scores are aggregated (the World Economic Forum equally averages them) and the stacked bar chart is natural visualization option.

Stacked columns with US Efficiency Enhancer scores

In example 2 we use the cluster or group bar chart to examine how the United States and Germany compare for each component used in the Economic Enhancer metric in a single time period. As the scores are not combined here, a cluster or group bar chart is more appropriate.

Clustered columns with Efficiency Enhancer scores

However, there are times where we would like to be able to combine the charts so that we can compactly examine two sets of data where each set is made up of components that aggregate. In example 3 we use a combination stack-cluster chart to achieve this and effective examine the Economic Enhancer components for both the US and Germany across the 3 time periods.

Stacked and clustered columns combination

Most data visualization tools are unable to naturally create a stacked-cluster combination. Users are forced to develop workarounds that are time consuming and not easily editable. With Aploris, however, users are can use the stacking editor to quickly create a stacked-cluster combination starting from either a regular stacked or cluster bar chart. By right-clicking on the blank spot on the chart users can pull up the stacking editor and simply drag and drop elements to create the desired stacked-cluster combination chart.