Jan 312013

I spend half my time as a musician and the other half as a data visualization “scientist”.  I love both professions but one downside shared by both professions is that I cannot listen to music nor glance at a chart without trying to figure out what is going on inside the music and inside the chart.

Consider this snippet from a recent NY Times / CBS Poll on Americans’ Views on Gun Control:

I was able to interpret this and all the other charts in the article quickly, but I found myself wondering if the information would read or “sing” better with a divergent stacked bar chart instead of a standard stacked bar chart.  Here’s a version I created using Gantt bars in Tableau:

I like how the divergent (or” staggered”)  approaches shows the skew in sentiment.

For information on how to create this type of chart, see Likert Scales: The Final Word and Masie’s Mobile Pulse Survey.

Note: I’m not able to post the workbook as I created it using Tableau 8 and I do not have access to Tableau 8 Public yet (it is in restricted beta).  As per Joe Mako’s comments below, you can find a downloadable solution at http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/firearmownership/Dashboard.



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 Posted by on January 31, 2013 3) Mostly Monthly Makeovers, Blog Tagged with: , , ,  Add comments

  3 Responses to “Guns, Gantt Bars, and Divergent Stacked Bar Charts”

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  1. I am confused on the logic used to sager the bars, I would have thought they would have been centered around the no-response white space. I was thinking something like this:

  2. Joe, I think your way does read / “sing” better.  I had the center crossing at 50%, but I’ve now updated it as per your suggestion.  I also liked how you handled the sorting within a category by placing the table calc on the rows shelf, making it discrete, and then hiding the header.  I handled the “did not specify” by using a white color selection and some conditional text.  I would post this on Tableau Public but I used Tableau 8 and I do not have access to Tableau 8 Public yet.

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