# Data visualization for showing a person's decile

Consider a service where you can inquiry someone's SSN and you will be shown his personal information and his income decile among the population of his country is one of those information. Right now a bullet graph is being used to show the decile because of its space efficiency (picture below)

As you can see the middle bar isn't as descriptive as I thought it'd be and when someone is part of 10th decile the full length of bar isn't just showing it well, and seems that the indicator bar is part of the graph itself.

I need suggestions on improving or replacing the bullet graph, any helps are appreciated.

• I'm struggling with some of the terminology you're using: Can you explain "SSN"? Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 8:29
• @AndrewMartin Social Security Number (It's actually called national number in my case, a unique number assigned by government to each person) Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 9:46

Looking at the example, even having read the description, it took me some time to work out what the graph was showing, and I think the problem is this:

If you see a diagram only once, and it is only showing one piece of information, it is very hard to distinguish between the structure of the diagram and the actual content. For instance, if I see this diagram six times:

then it's clear how to read each individual diagram. But if I see it only once, I don't know if I'm looking at the green divisions, the thick bar, the thin bar, etc.; and the problem is even worse if this one example happens to show the minimum or maximum value.

If your users are likely to see the diagram only once, then you are introducing them to a new visual language and trying to communicate to them using that language, at the same time. You could try using familiar idioms to help explain the graphic:

Or it might be better to simply use text (e.g. "90% earn less")...

• What about space concerns? "bullet graph is being used to show the decile because of its space efficiency"