I'm creating a UI for communications software. Attached is a currently displayed image. Are there better ways to show this info?

The attached "spider graph" takes a little explaining. That's a problem. Each spoke is a parameter of interest. The hope is in going from example 1 to example 2, one can quickly see how well/not well they match. In general, more shaded area is better.

What are some better/other ways to illustrate and compare 6 or so characteristics for each of two examples?

spider graph

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    I seldom seldom seldom feel a spider graph is a good choice. IMO. Yes you pack a lot into little space but you move to your users the effort to decrypt and understand it. Split your graphs! Do you have relationships to make clear? Do it. Do you want to relate "Data rate" and "Link length"? Then put them in one separate XY chart. On the same chart you may even compare multiple series vs. one reference. No effort to read your chart. No need to think. And no...we're pretty bad at comparing areas, it's a fancy chart but little useful (IMO) – Adriano Repetti Dec 1 '15 at 8:32
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    Agree with Adriano that these graphs are horrible. I would go even higher level and ask what type of decision are you asking the person to make. If they are trying to make a choice between two solutions that have a set of parameters, how do those parameters have an effect on the use of the solution? I'm betting they still have to weigh each option independently in their minds, not all at once. Focus on how they understand the differences of each parameter rather than together. – Chris Butler Dec 1 '15 at 13:24
  • Thanks! Ideally, in one image, the user tells how good things are. E.G. OFDM vs single-carrier QAM with equalization...compare both on a single chart? Henry, thanks.. have toyed with horizontal bars...data rate1/data rate 2 next to each other...etc. Adriano/Chris, your words are spot on. Chris... helps with this... "I'm betting they still have to weigh each option independently in their minds"... moreover, it's up to them which parameter is important...how to help them explore importance, that sort of thing? Priorities, I think...1) Explore importance of params, 2) Understandable 3) one graph. – Thomas85281 Dec 1 '15 at 19:08
  • Why not just use a series of bar charts? – ElBel Dec 28 '16 at 23:02

Just some chicken-scratch, but the main points are:

  • Chart header provides the legend and a brief description opportunity.
  • Vertical stack, one row for each property.
  • Bar endpoints visually establish the min/max scale for the property.
  • Actual values as labels under each data point

enter image description here

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This is just my first thought, but it seems that you are trying to unify six distinct and unrelated values into a 3-dimensional shape. I don't really know what your individual dimensions are or what range of values might be appropriate for each, but I think you will have better success keeping each relationship seperate and use shapes to describe the differences between their values in the two examples.

enter image description here

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  • Areas, especially radial areas, are harder to compare accurately than single-dimension [linear] comparisons. – ElBel Dec 28 '16 at 23:01

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