What is the best way to visualize four or more data points on a graph? The graph will show the four data points for each day (e.g. Feb 13th) and there will be up to 31 days on the graph at a time. Each day should be on the x axis. This is for browser-based software used by forecast analysts.

Specifics: One data point will never change, it is "last year's data point." The 2nd data point will be manipulated up and down by the user. The third data point will automatically re-adjust, decrementing/incrementing when the user increments/decrements the 2nd data point. The fourth data point only appears after the user has moved the 2nd data point, as a reference to where the data point started (so users can easily see what adjustments they've made).

We do not want to use this style [below], and are looking for alternative approaches: enter image description here

Please reply with a wireframe or visual mockup in your answer.

  • can you give an example to the type of data this graph represent? when the user manipulate the 2nd point does it affect all the third points or only that specific date?
    – noadavi
    Feb 8, 2017 at 7:15
  • Thanks for the clarifying question --- this is demand forecast data. By moving the 2nd data point up, the 3rd data point automatically adjusts down. It only affects the specific date. Feb 8, 2017 at 19:35
  • so does it have to be on the graph if it's affect only one date?
    – noadavi
    Feb 9, 2017 at 6:32
  • Yes. An analyst will look at 28 to 31 days at any given time. An analyst might adjust 10 days out of the 30, and then "save" the forecast and generate reporting. Having three side-by-side bars per date is overwhelming when there are 30 days on the graph. We are looking for an alternate approach to visually representing the data. Feb 9, 2017 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


Why not use a line graph with marked points? If you're allowing the graph to be manipulated, you should include guide lines for the y-axis too, provided that the manipulations are in integers.

  • Thank you for the reply -- I can't exactly check this off as an answer though. Can you provide a visual to describe what you are talking about? Are you proposing to have three lines? And how will you show which data points have been adjusted by the user? Feb 13, 2017 at 16:38
  • imgur.com/a/tyB9b In the link is a visual of one of the many ways to do it. Use different line weights/styles, along with point markers to highlight what is interactive and what are the results of the interaction.
    – Lucian T
    Feb 14, 2017 at 10:51
  • I agree with @LucianT ! Exactly what I would suggest! Mar 1, 2017 at 14:53

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