7.5. Comparison Across Categories
In this lesson, we'll explore how to visualize comparisons between categories, as well as changes over time within these categories. We'll cover various chart types and their applications for effectively presenting comparative data.
Bar charts are a favorite for comparing numbers across different categories. In a bar chart, categories are represented along the X-axis, and their corresponding values are represented by the height of the bars on the Y-axis. This presentation makes it easy to compare values side by side.
Time Series with Breakdown
One way to compare categories while also showing changes over time is to use a time series chart with a breakdown dimension. This method allows you to visualize the distribution of values over time while also seeing the trend.
For example, a breakdown of website users by age bracket over time can help you identify the most significant sources of traffic and how they change.
Stacked Bar Charts
Another way to compare categories over time is by using stacked bar charts. This chart type uses two different dimensions on the X-axis: one for the time and the other for the categories. This approach enables you to see the distribution of values within a specific time frame and follow the trends of each category. However, it can be more challenging to track the changes in values over time, especially for categories in the middle of the chart.
Stacked line charts or area charts can also be used to display the total values and distribution of categories over time. By enabling or disabling percentage stacking, you can choose to focus on either the distribution as a percentage or the absolute values and trends.
When visualizing comparisons, consider using bar charts, time series with breakdown dimensions, or stacked bar charts depending on your audience and the questions you're trying to answer.
Each chart type has its pros and cons, so choose the one that best communicates the insights you want to convey.