Beyond Bar Charts: Data with Sankey, Circular Packing, and Network Graphs | by Maham Haroon | Aug, 2023

Unconventional visualizations: when and when not to wield their power

Photo by on Unsplash

Hello there!

If you’ve delved into the world of data analysis, you’re likely familiar with the power of charts like bar graphs, line plots, scatter plots, and pie charts. These visuals not only make data more accessible but also enhance understanding for various audiences — whether they’re stakeholders, customers, or even yourself, seeking insights from the data. However, there are instances where the data complexities demand more intricate and captivating displays.

Imagine this scenario: You’re stepping into the shoes of a fledgling data scientist at our fictional company MM Awesome Data Inc. The management is grappling with the integration of new data sources within the existing data framework and they really need to understand the big picture. While a pie chart might serve a portion of the purpose, imagine the impact and flair of presenting a flowchart, such as a captivating sankey diagram or a dynamic stream graph.

This post revolves around such scenarios. In the vast landscape of available data visualizations, there are some hidden gems that often remain underutilized. Recognizing the fact that we can’t talk about all these awesome visualization in one post, we’ll focus on three of them here. So, let’s dive in.

Let’s kick things off by exploring the fascinating world of Sankey Diagrams.

Sankey Diagrams are an incredibly cool way to visualize the flow of data. They offer a unique way to see how things are moving from one stage to another. Imagine understanding the journey of a product from its inception to the final outcome, or how different categories come together or split apart. That’s where Sankey Diagrams shine the brightest.

However, it’s worth mentioning that these diagrams are best suited for scenarios that involve tracking flows, like the examples we mentioned. In other cases, they might not be the best fit. So, let’s dive in and uncover their magic!

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