Search
  • David Goldstone

Oh No!, Not The Box-Plot Chart

Box-plot charts in general remind me of that family member who you see once-a-year at the annual family gathering.


They claim to be cleverer than everyone else and claim to know everything about everything . Really, no-one wants to engage them in a conversation because they will bore you silly or everything they talk about will go straight over your head. Box-plots are just like this, but in Chart World. Why? because they are unnecessarily confusing and look way to complicated.


People want to look at a chart and say " Yes, i know what you are saying to me", rather than saying "Ok, I can see all this and I have no idea what you are talking about". 


Box-plots can be represented in a simpler, less confusing way, with minimum effort. A way that doesn't take ages to get their point across, a way that doesn't leave you feeling drained after spending 5 minutes with them.


Here is an example:


Box-plot chart: Loads of data points against their consumption and a 3 lines that look like they have no significance to the data. A bit like our family member at lunch waffling on about something you have no idea about and totally irrelevant to the general conversation at the dinner table.


📷


See below how we can easily represent the same information. Box-plots don't really add much value and you can easily see the outliers without them. If you want to show any data points above the averages, simply use a reference line. This is much easier to understand. 

Alternatively, use another chart entirely. For example: show total consumption for each Month as a bar, rather than using individual datapoints and show the number of datapoints over a certain threshold in a text box. This will speed up your dashboard and look better.


Or....


General Dot chart instead of Bars with a reference line:


📷


Or try a bar chart with a nice distribution line, set at a threshold. Easy to understand, not boring, not confusing.


📷


So, don't invite Uncle Boring box-plot to your next family gathering, and instead, invite the more interesting, more cool, and less confusing Uncle Bar Chart with his new partner, the reference/distribution line.


Now you can enjoy looking the chart and know exactly what it is saying.

2 views

Recent Posts

See All

Can I Have A Menu Please?!

Remember those times not all that long ago when we could go out to a restaurant and we were inadvertently handed not enough menus? Then we had to ask for another? Well, it’s going to be a few more wee

Tableau 2019.3 Release Notes

This may be a little late, but I personally prefer to have a play around with new releases of software a few weeks after they come out, rather than on day 1. So here are the release notes for Tableau

©2018 by DG Data Services Ltd. Proudly created with Wix.com