Part-Filled Data Bar

Here's a graphical treatment I saw recently worth noting. Via [sub'n req'd] the FT's Datawatch team.

It's not all that often that we present data that is not a finished 'period'. Typically we've full Years, Quarters, Months and the like to show.

Yet on occasion to chart a period only part-complete can through its unusualness add stickability to your message.

Above, the British Isles fear invasion of the dreaded Asian hornet. Forget for a moment the severe discomfort their sting can bring humans. Consider instead that each one can eat up to fifty native honeybees a day, and a swarm can destroy a hive of 30,000 bees. Potentially devastating for local ecology.

Above are the annual sightings of the accumulated 24 since 2016.

Only part-way into the current year, the final bar is labelled 'latest'.

Distinguished by shape as occupying a thinner width of the x-axis than full returns.

With publication date of 9th July, I thought this might equate to half a bar. From data nicely in as at end H1.

Yet upon measuring, maybe not quite so. With scale suggesting figures to roughly 4th May. Accuracy here isn't the real issue though.

In our Sales setting we've a number of ways how this approach can build.

Dependent on direction you want the dialogue to flow.

There's plenty of methods to show projected numbers. As well as using labelling to help make these more memorable, such as by adding an 'E'.

By way of just one example, below I add a subtle such forecast with one option for what a completed bar might look like, come period-, in this case year-, end.

Seasonality, the potential for varying historical trajectories to kick-in (such as hockey-stick with potential overloading the back-end), and other external factors at play can all then be discussed. Ramifications duly uncovered, plans adopted, solutions preferred.

[For more in this vein, check out one of my books, 101 Charts That Sell.]

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