Plot your data around the clock [Excel charting idea]
If your reports include hourly distribution of data like,
- Customer footfalls in your store
- Page views of your site
- Customer service calls to your toll free numbers
here is an interesting charting idea to show the data around the clock (literally)
Update: Visualization pros Jon Peltier and Jorge Camoes took a critical look at this, nearly fainted 😉 at the carnage of a familiar metaphor and posted their awesome reviews here:
Both these are indeed fine examples of how shaking a familiar metaphor (analog clock) or way doing (usual bar chart for 24 hours) can bring a great discussion and excellent alternatives out of passionate people. Do read them
What you are seeing is essentially 2 bubble charts tweaked to look like wall-clocks with bubbles around the 12 positions.
This can be an interesting addition to your dashboards or daily report. Excited to find out how this is done? read on.
1. Get your data ready to plot it around the clock (circle)
Let us build the above graph using fictitious page view data for each of the 12 hours since midnight till noon. The data is shown aside.
In order to create the around the clock affect we need to plot each of these hourly values around a circle at 12 points. Now, without getting all mathematicky to scare you, lets try to come up with simple explanation to find all the 12 points around the circle:
Assuming the radius of clock or our chart circle is 100,
- Clock has 12 hour positions, thus each one is 30° (360°/12)
- The first point’s x value would be:
- and y value would be:
- For each of the other 11 points, we just need to use the multiples of 30: 60, 90, 120, .., 360
- in excel spreadsheet you can find the values by
- We have to convert the degrees to radians since SIN(), COS() accept only radians as inputs
Once we are done, the data should look like this:
2. Plot the Bubble Chart
This is the easy part, just select the cells containing x,y and page view values and insert new chart, select bubble as the chart type. Make sure you have mentioned the x,y, and bubble sizes in correct places.
The fun part begins after creating the chart, as the dimensions may be skewed and you may get egg like circle, so adjust the dimensions and your 12 hour clock view is ready to go.
Use the same process to create another clock for hours from noon till midnight and juxtapose them on that dashboard or report, send it across to your boss or team, let the conversation begin 😀
Download the template and play with it
Like this technique, why don’t you download the Data Around Clock – Charting Idea excel and play with it. Its available on the standard PAHF license (Poke Around, Have Fun)
Fun ways to enhance these charts:
- Overlay a clock diagram in the background
- Use sky color for the background, thus one clock has darker shades and other has brighter shades
- Bubbles themselves can be colored as Sun colors, bright orange to yellow and back to orange
More on Bubble Charts: Why you should star retirement savings really early, Olympic Medals per Country in All Years
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