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I am working on platform that shows data on a graph over a period of weeks. Right now, weeks with no data and weeks when there is data but the property is 0 are shown visually the same.

On hover, it's easy to differentiate on the tooltip, as in one I am saying 'Dataset 1: 0' or 'No data' but I am wondering if there is anything else I can do so that you can differentiate at a glance?

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  • What type of graph are you trying to display this for? It would help if you include an image or link to a similar style of graph and data.
    – JohnGB
    May 16, 2023 at 23:54

2 Answers 2

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A lot depends on the exact type of graph that you're displaying.

If you have visual control, you can show an interrupted graph in a number of ways. My personal favourite is to grey out that section of the graph and not show any visual values. However, in cases where I haven't had control, I've used an invalid value (usually something small and negative) and labelled that point on the graph as "no data". It's not nearly as visually appealing as some other options, but it gets the point across.

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You can display available values not only via tooltips, but also permanently. For "no data" you can use some indicator like "-", or "#", or "#NV".

You can show it also by a graph. If no data are available, interrupt the graph, like MS Excel. Suppose we have following case:

  • Week 1: Data available
  • Week 2: Data available
  • Week 3: Data available
  • Week 4: Data available
  • Week 5: Data available
  • Week 6: No data
  • Week 7: Data available
  • Week 8: Data available
  • Week 9: Data available

Then you draw graph from week 1 to week 5. Then interrupt it. Then draw graph from week 7 to week 9.

In such approach it doesn't matter, if data value is 0. Important is, that the graph is drawn also for 0 value and it should be distinguishable from the X axis.

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