3 fun visuals for showing change over time - Show and Tell Tuesday part 8

Yes, there's more! Even after sharing visuals for you to use to show systemspeopledecisions, amounts, and even language, there's still at least one more subject to cover: time!

Here's a few fun visuals that are ideal for showcasing change.

Funnel chart

Funnel charts represent stages in a process that narrows and may be used for identifying problems within the process.

Unlike a real funnel, everything "poured" into the top doesn't make it to the bottom. It usually starts at 100% and ends with a lower percentage, indicating the rate of decline is and where the biggest bottlenecks are. They are commonly used to describe an organization's sales process, website visitor trends, or fulfillment processes.

(This example is also a preview of content I'll be sharing in my next illustrated epostcard which will be my own annual report - sign up here to get it in your inbox.)

Slopegraph or bump chart

A bump chart ranks categories over time.

Items are first ranked vertically. Then horizontal lines show how these ranks have changed over time. These lines make the most dramatic changes very apparent, with change in rank indicated by crossing lines, or "bumps." 

The example below shows how the concerns of Americans have changed over the past year according to Gallup.

Animated GIF

This one is by far the most ubiquitous visual discussed here, but I still think it's worth including because it is often not considered as an option for showing change over time.

GIFs (stands for Graphics Interchange Format) are commonly used online because they are a relatively easy way to share short animations. Animated GIFs are made up of a series of images or frames displayed successively over time. Their limited color palette (and potentially massive file sizes) make them less than ideal for high-quality photos, but they are great for graphics.

You can see an example in my 2016 annual report.


There's just one more blog in this series, so stay tuned! Here's links to the previous ones if you missed them (please feel free to share!):