Consider the table below that shows the results from a fictitious poll on the use of various learning modalities.
I can’t glean anything meaningful from this. What about a bar chart?
Wow, that’s really bad. What about a 100% stacked bar chart?
Okay, that’s better, but it’s still pretty bad as Tableau’s default colors do nothing to help us see tendencies that are adjacent. That is, “often” and “sometimes” should have similar colors, as should “rarely” and “never.”
So, let’s try using better colors (and don’t even think about using red and green.)
This is certainly an improvement, but the modalities are listed alphabetically and not by how often they’re used. Let’s see what happens when we sort the bars.
It’s taken us several tries, but it’s now easier to see which modalities are more popular.
But we can do better. Here’s the same data rendered as a divergent stacked bar chart.
Of course, we can also look take a coarser view and just compare sometimes/often with rarely/never, as shown here.
I find that the divergent approach speaks to me and resonates with my colleagues and clients.