I'm seeking advice on how to enhance a time series visualization I've created. Currently, I have plotted a line chart to compare the rate of change of deaths for multiple countries during covid19. However, the countries are overlapping one another, resulting in a very cluttered and messy chart.

enter image description here

Here's what I've done so far:

  1. Plotted a line chart for each country's death rate changes over time.
  2. Used different colors for each country.

The issues I'm facing:

  1. The lines overlap too much, making it difficult to distinguish between different countries.
  2. The chart is visually overwhelming and hard to interpret.
  3. I am not allowed to create an interactive chart, as it will be a static chart printed on a PDF poster.

Link: https://rpubs.com/Giulliansn/Assignment_2_S3852780

How could I improve this visualization? I am open with using other types of charts.

3 Answers 3


Have you tried using the Stacked Bar graph like below enter image description here

  • Hi, thanks for the reply. But my line chart contains negative values as well
    – Isakkiii
    Commented Jun 20 at 12:02

One alternative is to use following radial chart. enter image description here Source: IDN07 lemongraphic Rayz Ong


There are few approaches that can be applied for lines series data visaulisation:

  1. Color - I see the lines in the chart is already having good contrast colors in dark mode. Test them in lighter mode of UI as well.
  2. Line Style - vary line style (solid, dashed (different dash patterns), dotted,zig-zag), for each series.
  3. Markers - Add markers (circles, square, triangle, rombus) at data points. This will help differentiating overlapping lines.
  4. Labelling - which we can see in the chart.
  5. Annotations - Use annotations to highlight specific events or data points. Arrows, callouts, or shaded regions.

If your chart is interactive, then

  1. Focus on the timeline that you want to tell your story. For example time of start of COVID or lockdown. Zoom your chart to that level and allow user to explore past and future timeline as per the context.
  2. Plot Area chart in the background, picker on the legends to highlight the respective line.
  3. If you have too many countries to plot, then too many colors are also too much, in such case represent color themes per continent or region like EMEA, APJ, APAC, etc. or Africa, Asia, South Asia, North America, South America, etc. And One color gradient pallet for each continent. This way you can reduce the colors.

Most of the above also adhere to Accessibility standards as well.

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