I want to visualize a value that indicates the amount of deviation a certain resource's value is from its default value. In this specific case, a higher deviation is bad and a low one is good. So in short, I want to visualize the fact that the lower the deviation, the better. I want to visualize the actual value itself as well.

Failed solutions

A number with a value with a color scale going from green to red sounds like a solution, but I cannot tie a scale to absolute specific values. In other words, 0 (zero) might be green, but pure red is not necessarily 100. Next to that, I'd like to stay away from using colors for text that should be read easily anyway. Yellow text (somewhere between green and red in the scale) on top of a white background is terrible in regards to legibility.


How should I tackle this? Are there examples that try to do similar things?

  • What pattern are you using to display the default and changed values? Will they be in a list, a table, a detail screen, or something else?
    – Izquierdo
    Feb 21, 2020 at 15:10
  • I read that this resource is always numeric. Is that correct? Is it integer, fixed-decimal, or variable-decimal? Are there any constraints on the value (or its default)?
    – eclarkso
    Feb 21, 2020 at 19:24
  • @StacyH They will be in a dashboard environment.
    – Kriem
    Feb 22, 2020 at 9:59
  • 1
    @eclarkso It's an absolute value (so always positive, or zero) that reflects the amount of deviation from the mean. It's a measurement. The mean is calculated.
    – Kriem
    Feb 24, 2020 at 6:51
  • 1
    The major advantage of using s.d. values is that - assuming your measurements are somewhat normally distributed - you know that nearly all of them will be <3 s.d., so you have a limited input domain onto which you can map some sort of visualization/output domain. What that output domain is (colors, font size, bars, whatever) is a distinct problem. It's a bit hard to say much more without additional details on the application and/or data.
    – eclarkso
    Feb 25, 2020 at 22:10


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