Our eyes start at the base and scan towards the end of each bar. We measure the lengths relative to both the baseline and the other bars, so it’s a straightforward process to identify the smallest or the largest bar. We can also see the negative space between varying heights of bars to compare the incremental difference between them.
Not only are these graphs easy to read, but they are also widely recognized. Chances are, you’ve already encountered a standard horizontal or vertical bar chart. But bars come in many shapes and sizes. I’ll list below a few of the most common variations, with links to examples.
Click through for some good information on bar charts, including design tips.