Designing Charts: Chart Ranges

Designing the most suitable chart range is crucial for accurately representing your data in visual formats. 

  1. Understand your data: The first and foremost thing to do before designing any chart is to understand your data. Data compression should be considered when identifying chart ranges to ensure that the information is effectively represented within the available space and to highlight important patterns or trends. Go through the numbers, identify the trends, and spot any outliers. This will give you a fair idea of the appropriate range for your chart.
  1. Start with zero: A crucial aspect of designing a chart range is to start the y-axis with zero. This ensures that your viewers can accurately compare values and understand the differences between them. For instance, if you want to illustrate the change in sales figures over 12 months, starting at zero helps in understanding the proportions better.
  1. Keep it simple: Avoid using unnecessarily complicated or artistic charts. Ensure your chart range and design prioritizes clarity above all else. Selecting a chart type that is too difficult to comprehend will lead to confusion and misinterpretation of the data, defeating the purpose of visual representation.
  1. Choose the right scale: The scale should align with the data points you plan to present. For instance, if you are illustrating daily fluctuations in stock prices, using a continuous scale would be more suitable. On the other hand, if you’re presenting yearly sales growth, using a discrete scale might be more appropriate.
  1. Consider natural breaks: When setting the chart range, keep an eye on the natural breaks in your data. These breaks can help you identify patterns and trends, which can be better represented when the chart is aligned with them. For example, if you’re depicting temperature changes over the course of a week, and there’s a significant difference between day and night temperatures, you can split the chart accordingly.
  1. Think about your audience: Knowing your audience will help you make better decisions regarding design and range. Try to gauge their expertise and familiarity with the subject matter, and tailor your chart to suit their level of understanding. This will ensure that your visual representation is better received and understood.
  1. Colors and labeling: Lastly, appropriate colors and labeling play a significant role in designing chart ranges. Use contrasting colors for different data points, and add clear and helpful labels to make it easy for your audience to understand the information presented.