I've seen two different ways to display information about a point on an scatter plot

  1. A tooltip (info tip) which appears next to your cursor
  2. When you hover over a point, information will display in the same location regardless of what point was clicked (on the bottom or the side or the chart).

There are benefits to both. I was hoping to find some best practices for these two ways to display information.

What do people usually prefer?

a true tooltip has the benefit of always being close to you point which you are hovering over; your eyes do not need to travel far to get to the information. On the other hand. I can see where it would get annoying to continually see the tooltip blinking off and on as you move between 300-400 different data points.

  • 2
    I found a somewhat similar question and the responses were pretty good ux.stackexchange.com/questions/64040/…
    – Fractal
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 21:01
  • 2
    That answer looks like marketing to me - "here's a great example using software from the company I work for". There's also a problem with the answer: hover states are bad for users with accessibility issues - the info should be available within the normal state of the UI - you can use a hover state to enhance the experience but not the only delivery method. In your case, maybe you could offer the info in a collapsible table beneath the chart too. Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 8:08
  • That is actually a really good idea. Thanks for the advice. I would mark it as the answer if you make your response an answer.
    – Fractal
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 1:31

1 Answer 1


As Andrew mentioned, hovers are bad. Use a table.

I would prefer it appear near my mouse for the reason you stated, and if I'm zooming and tapping on mobile. Also if the scatterplot is sparse, I shouldn't be mousing over 300-400 data points, but you could add a delay so it doesn't do that until the mouse stops moving.

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