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2 years, 6 months ago
I am presenting results from an experiment in an academic publication. Here is what the figure currently looks like:
The gray bars are the averages of the red and the blue bars.
I want to show the reader how the methods perform on average, as displayed by the gray bars.
I would also like the reader to be able to compare the methods based on the red bars and based on the blue bars.
Right now, the visual complexity is quite high and the repetitive color pattern makes it hard to immediately see what's going on.
I have tried removing the gray bars and displaying them as horizontal lines between the red and the blue bars, but that did not look good either:
Nov 12, 2020 at 9:47
You could show the average in a large bar, and put the separate categories inside in smaller bars.
If you use Excel and use two axes, make sure they both have the same scale.
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Nov 13, 2020 at 14:10
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If you really just mean the average of the two numbers, why not just leave the gray bars out, with nothing in their place? It's pretty easy to estimate visually. I think that's why there are few examples for you to base your design on.
Nov 12, 2020 at 23:41
Mark Foskey Mark Foskey
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A simple idea would be to show the average as a line graph, like this:
Nov 12, 2020 at 11:03
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Your second one seems fine to me to be honest. It's the least extra 'ink', and it's how single series bar charts show averages, you're just doing it for the items at each x value. You can see an example here for your exact situation -->
What you will find is that it's fiddly to do this in most chart drawing packages (that link has a way of doing it though for excel)
Nov 12, 2020 at 14:07
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Given that you want the viewer to focus on the
average value (but with the individual components available for comparison), I would make the central bar represent the average, and make it wider than the bars either side (representing CPU and GPU alone). I would also probably go with a more "standout" colour than grey for the average:
The widths of the outside bars and their colour/brightness compared to the central bar will affect how much (or how little) they will fade into the background.
Nov 13, 2020 at 16:18
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Thank you for your answers! They have all been insightful and I don't think it makes sense to accept a single answer since the specific requirements differ from case to case.
Here is what I went with in the end. It is very similar to plotting small horizontal lines, but I found the diamond markers to be much more visually appealing.
Nov 14, 2020 at 19:45
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