8 Replies Latest reply: Dec 9, 2009 1:52 PM by kjn RSS

    Thoughts on Gauge chart display and effective visual communication

    Community Administrator

      Inspired by Rob's latest blog post, I got to thinking about visual communication and the best way to present data using QlikView.

      Regarding gauge charts, on the Presentation -> Indicator -> Mode screen, I find myself using the "Needle and Fill to Value" mode rather than the default "Show Needle". I find that this makes for a more effective presentation because you can take a quick glance at the screen, and see which KPIs are doing well and which are suffering. When you use the "Show Needle" method, you have a ton of color and no really quick way to identify issues in a visual way.

      Here's an example from an app I built:

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      Forgive the two different treatments of the numbers...but with a quick glance at the bottom gauges, I know that I'm doing fine on expenses and my gain is getting there, but not quite there yet. With the top two, I have to search for the needle to let me know where i stand.

      What are your thoughts? Do you use the gauge object often? What are your best practices?

      Thanks!

      Jason Long
      QlikTech, Inc.

        • Thoughts on Gauge chart display and effective visual communication
          Oleg Troyansky

          Jason,

           

          I use gauges quite a lot, primarily on the dashboards. From the "effective visualization standpoint, they are terrible - if you think of it, you use a lot of "real estate" to communicate a single number! However, business people seem to like them, and that's all that matters.

          On the flip side, I recently developed a dashboard inspired by the "Financial controlling" dashboard - truly "Hi-resolution", with gauges, and sparklines, and a lot of information tightly packaged into the screen... and the client was ready to throw me, along with QlikView, out of the window :-) Go figure how to please one!

          Regarding your point - as usual, there are several "pro" and "con"... Practically speaking, you have a good point - the bottom two gauges appear to be more effective in communicating the "good news" and "bad news". On the flip side, you can't tell what is the target and how far are you from it, using the gauge on the left. Also, from the "visual" standpoint, the gauges appear "unfinished", which might be a good thing or not...

          One "wish" for the core Developers in Lund (Christopher, can you hear me ?). Every time we develop Gauges, we need to also add the value as a "text in chart" and position it right in the middle under the gauge itself. Could you be so kind and give us a checkbox "Show value under the gauge" or something like that? We could even reuse an existing check box "show text on axis"! And, if you want to be really good, you could also allow automatic coloring of the number in the same color as the gauge - e.g., if I'm in "green", color the text in Green. You can't imagine how many lines of duplicate expressions you could save!!!

          thoughts?

          Oleg

           

            • Thoughts on Gauge chart display and effective visual communication
              Community Administrator

              You're right, they aren't the best way to present info, but the business clamors for them, so they're included.

              As far as this goes:

               


              Oleg Troyansky wrote:
              One "wish" for the core Developers in Lund (Christopher, can you hear me ?). Every time we develop Gauges, we need to also add the value as a "text in chart" and position it right in the middle under the gauge itself. Could you be so kind and give us a checkbox "Show value under the gauge" or something like that? We could even reuse an existing check box "show text on axis"! And, if you want to be really good, you could also allow automatic coloring of the number in the same color as the gauge - e.g., if I'm in "green", color the text in Green. You can't imagine how many lines of duplicate expressions you could save!!!


              I could not agree more!!! I can't tell you how many times I've typed =num( Control+V ) in the add text to chart box.

              Thanks for the thoughts. It's especially interesting how you made a dashboard like Financial Controlling, in the vein of Stephen Few and Edward Tufte, and almost got thrown out the door. I'm the same way with web design...there are many web standards, usability best practices and ways to present information online, but the business will not always receive them. Hence the abomination that is Flash...but I digress...

              Jason



              • Thoughts on Gauge chart display and effective visual communication

                 


                Oleg Troyansky wrote:
                One "wish" for the core Developers in Lund (Christopher, can you hear me ?). Every time we develop Gauges, we need to also add the value as a "text in chart" and position it right in the middle under the gauge itself. Could you be so kind and give us a checkbox "Show value under the gauge" or something like that? We could even reuse an existing check box "show text on axis"! And, if you want to be really good, you could also allow automatic coloring of the number in the same color as the gauge - e.g., if I'm in "green", color the text in Green. You can't imagine how many lines of duplicate expressions you could save!!!<div></div>


                Too bad I missed this interesting thread when it was active. Oleg, I hear you (a bit late though)! Tongue Tied

                I've seen that many qv developers are putting the actual value in the bottom area of a circular gauge so it will probably be a good idea to add such feature to the circualr gauge itself. It will not be as flexible as putting an entire chart object (LED?) on top, like the "standard practice" is. If it's ok to just have a centered text with a selectable font and color, I can add it, probably for QV10.

                Kristoffer

                 

              • Thoughts on Gauge chart display and effective visual communication
                Rob Wunderlich

                I wouldn't use the bottom two gauges because as Oleg pointed out, they lack consistent target information. I say "consistent" because in the 4th gauge, some relative target information is available -- but only because the needle has entered the third segment. So more or less context information is available depending on where the value falls. Inconsistent and I would avoid this design for that reason.

                For quick look KPI indicators, I like to use a color coded dot or number.

                Great discussion topic!

                -Rob

                • Thoughts on Gauge chart display and effective visual communication

                  Hi Long,

                  Some time I follow little different pratice some times for dashboard which is I use Pivot table and in one column I show the Number and same expression I use to display the text as LED/Image. This allows user to see all the information at a glance. with other charts.

                  Regards,

                  Amit

                    • Thoughts on Gauge chart display and effective visual communication

                      IS there any way that in chart will be shown only the last colour.

                      Example:

                      I've got a gauge chart with two colours. red color from -100% to 0 and green colour form 0% to 100%. If the needle is on -30% thts coorect - colour of the gauge is onle red, but if the needle is on 30% - on the gauge I've got two colors. Is it possible that in this case the colour will be only one -green??