M. Hlawatsch, F. Sadlo, M. Burch, D. Weiskopf:

Scale-Stack Bar Charts

Computer Graphics Forum, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 181–190, 2013.


It is difficult to create appropriate bar charts for data that cover large value ranges. The usual approach for these cases employs a logarithmic scale, which, however, suffers from issues inherent to its non-linear mapping: for example, a quantitative comparison of different values is difficult. We present a new approach for bar charts that combines the advantages of linear and logarithmic scales, while avoiding their drawbacks. Our scale-stack bar charts use multiple scales to cover a large value range, while the linear mapping within each scale preserves the ability to visually compare quantitative ratios. Scale-stack bar charts can be used for the same applications as classic bar charts; in particular, they can readily handle stacked bar representations and negative values. Our visualization technique is demonstrated with results for three different application areas and is assessed by an expert review and a quantitative user study confirming advantages of our technique for quantitative comparisons.

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