6 Comments

  1. ea3cayuga says:

    Hi Ann
    Thanks for the Dataviz challenges! A few weeks after you posted the side by side challenge, I needed to use something to get a big list of information (for a small N) in a readable visual… here is my attempt. What do you think? (I know it’s missing some things (like real referral reasons) but this still unreleased!) This is supposed to portray how a “referral reason” is seen to have changed. (We provide social service interventions to families and youths.) Each family can have up to three of those referral reasons and they were asked if their specific ones had gotten better, stayed the same, or gotten worse. (I actually used the VBA tool and vlookup to set up the survey so that everyone got their custom questions!)
    Thank you so much for your blog, you’ve really changed the way I am able to work and the how many staff members and clients are able to use information!
    Here is what I’ve got so far:
    http://ow.ly/mS94Y
    Best wishes,
    Elisa

  2. susanmaude@aol.com says:

    Ann – any updates on directions for how to do the small multiples bar chart?

    1. Ann K. Emery says:

      Coming soon, stay tuned! It’s been a busy week.

  3. […] Two weeks ago, I challenged readers to re-create the “after” version of a small multiples bar chart. You can read the full post here. […]

  4. Elizabeth Corley says:

    Ann, these are great posts which vividly illustrate the value of thinking how to display information. I will step up to the challenge and try my hand at Excel, but first a question. What do you see as the role of a communications person (such as myself) in this process? I work on publications with a talented team of researchers, but who should be thinking of how to display the data, the researchers or the person preparing the manuscript for publication? Are we both responsible? What is a good way to approach this?

  5. […] Two weeks ago, I challenged readers to re-create the “after” version of a small multiples bar chart. You can read the full post here. […]

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Dataviz Challenge #4: Can You Make a Small Multiples Bar Chart?

Jul 10th, 2013 / Data Visualization /

In the third dataviz challenge, we started talking about making several comparisons at once. For example, when the Innovation Network team and I surveyed nonprofits in the State of Evaluation 2012 research, we found differences between small, medium, and large nonprofits’ evaluation practices and capacity.
The “before” chart: Let’s examine the percentage of small, medium, and large nonprofits that reported using various evaluation practices. When making comparisons between subgroups, we often create clustered bar charts. A default Excel chart might look something like this:

Before: A default clustered bar chart

Before: A default clustered bar chart


Like I’ve mentioned before, there’s nothing technically wrong with this chart. But it’s too hard to find at-a-glance patterns.
The “after” chart: Here’s that same dataset as a small multiples bar chart:
After: Small multiples bar chart

After: Small multiples bar chart


I love small multiples bar charts because they allow us to see patterns instantly. Within a split second, you can see that the bars on the left side are a lot taller than the right side (quantitative vs. qualitative data collection practices). Within another second or two, you can also see a difference between the blue, green, and red bars –  small nonprofits were generally less likely to use these evaluation practices than medium or large nonprofits. What an improvement over the default chart!
The dataviz challenge: Re-create the “after” version in Excel, R, or some other free software program. When you’re finished, email me or tweet a screenshot to @annkemery.
Bonus: Instead of copying this dataset exactly, think about how you might use a small multiples bar chart in your own work. Can you re-create this chart using your own dataset?
The prize for playing: Beer or coffee, my treat, the next time you’re in DC; a professional development opportunity; and bragging rights.
I’ll post the how-to guide in two weeks. Happy charting!
P.S. Like what you see? Johanna Morariu and I would love to share dataviz principles with nonprofits at the upcoming #14NTC conference. Please vote for our session!

6 Comments

  1. ea3cayuga says:

    Hi Ann
    Thanks for the Dataviz challenges! A few weeks after you posted the side by side challenge, I needed to use something to get a big list of information (for a small N) in a readable visual… here is my attempt. What do you think? (I know it’s missing some things (like real referral reasons) but this still unreleased!) This is supposed to portray how a “referral reason” is seen to have changed. (We provide social service interventions to families and youths.) Each family can have up to three of those referral reasons and they were asked if their specific ones had gotten better, stayed the same, or gotten worse. (I actually used the VBA tool and vlookup to set up the survey so that everyone got their custom questions!)
    Thank you so much for your blog, you’ve really changed the way I am able to work and the how many staff members and clients are able to use information!
    Here is what I’ve got so far:
    http://ow.ly/mS94Y
    Best wishes,
    Elisa

  2. susanmaude@aol.com says:

    Ann – any updates on directions for how to do the small multiples bar chart?

    1. Ann K. Emery says:

      Coming soon, stay tuned! It’s been a busy week.

  3. […] Two weeks ago, I challenged readers to re-create the “after” version of a small multiples bar chart. You can read the full post here. […]

  4. Elizabeth Corley says:

    Ann, these are great posts which vividly illustrate the value of thinking how to display information. I will step up to the challenge and try my hand at Excel, but first a question. What do you see as the role of a communications person (such as myself) in this process? I work on publications with a talented team of researchers, but who should be thinking of how to display the data, the researchers or the person preparing the manuscript for publication? Are we both responsible? What is a good way to approach this?

  5. […] Two weeks ago, I challenged readers to re-create the “after” version of a small multiples bar chart. You can read the full post here. […]

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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