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A Simple Chart Gone Wrong

Mike Cisneros debugs a visual:

Looking at the chart, you might think, “For such a simple chart, why am I so confused?” It’s a bar chart with one data series, a title, a subtitle, and more info at the bottom. But the real challenge isn’t the design, layout, or labeling. It’s the assumptions made before creating the chart. For example, the chart uses the acronym “ADS” without explaining it. Does everyone know it means Average Daily Sales? And does “Gap Analysis” make sense to coffee shop owners?

One additional thing that I would point out is that column charts tend to imply time series, which adds even more to the confusion, as the presentation makes it look like you’re seeing the comparison of Mellow Bean versus its competition over seven time periods. Bar charts, meanwhile, tend to imply static data, so the move to a bar chart makes sense.