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We are developing an application, and we have a problem with a part of the UI. We need to display the forecast for the next days, but the values of the forecast falls down into a set of levels {1,2,3,4,5,6}. This is a problem, since the graphs really look good when are displaying values that are not exactly the same, but when values are the same, looks just not nice.

Graph with values inside the set vs real values

One option is to randomize the values of the forecast enough to give the feeling of a dispersion, but it can't be done, since is for scientific reasons and we can't just do it.

Any idea of improvements?

We thought about a pie chart, but it also doesn't match our purpose. Other option is to use line chart, but imagine the forecast for 5 days is the same level 1, will just display a straight line.

Additional information

We do not want to provide fake data, and it will not even be considered an option. I suggested adding a random value as a thought, that intermediately was discarded. (I mention it to avoid someone propose it as a solution)

E.g., the data we are displaying is the wind speed. The current wind speed can be 1 to 10 km/h or m/s (inside level 1), 11 to 30, level 2, etc... Our system is able to forecast the LEVEL of tomorrow's wind speed, but it can't give an accurate measure (let's say, 23.423232 km/h, but it can forecast it will fall inside level 2).

Our major concern is that most of the time, all the forecast periods are going to be of the same level, leading to situations to a flat line.

See graphs below

Proposed solutions

One important solution might be that there is really no solution for this issue and we just need to use the normal graph, just wanted to know different opinions on how would you handle this issue.

  • First of all, I don't agree the graph looks nicer when values are not identical. Secondly, manipulating data just for the sake of "looking better" would be a very bad idea. I cannot understand why you want to explore that possibility. – Bart Gijssens Aug 10 '15 at 11:54
  • excellent,i think the dot connected graph is much better for this data because the bars usually represent data in SIZE where the comparison is very important. ux.stackexchange.com/questions/19295/… – downrep_nation Aug 11 '15 at 9:37
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Showing inaccurate information to promote design is a MAJOR UX SIN you cant lie to your users to make them "like the design"

If you dislike the way the graph looks you have 3 options

  1. use a different graph system I think bars are a good representation for this,but thats no doubt your personal choice.

  2. add more in between steps Not sure what the information you are displaying stands for,but if you can cut it into hours that look more diverse,go for it.

  3. dont use a graph at all There is nothing wrong with a simply designed table to show these simple numbers like in your example,ask the question: will the end user need this to compare days?

  • Because the connected lines try to show the difference between the datapoints. 2 datapoints with the same value is completely fine because it shows a LACK OF CHANGE - which is exacly what you want users to understand from the graph right? – downrep_nation Aug 11 '15 at 9:38

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