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Effective Visualizations

Let’s face it — One of the facets of the fourth industrial revolution is the proliferation of data and the need for harnessing data for decision making.

Much has been written by the likes of Dr. Edward Tufte and Stephen Few about effective data visualizations to empower organizations to know what’s happening and what needs to be done to stay competitive.

One of the aspects of effective data visualizations is highlighting data for relevance and context.

Simply put, it’s a data brushing technique to lead focus towards important insights all the while still showing other insights.

You may also have to highlight the same subset of data in multiple visualizations at the same time. 

Why?  It’s all about providing proper context. 

Brushing is used in almost every interactive visualization environment. Typically, the technique is simple; the user moves the brush to different positions on the plotted graphic to select (and highlight) certain elements that are bounded by the brush. By doing so the user is able to graphically highlight and hence investigate various aspects of the data.   — Towards Ubiquitous Brushing for Information Visualization

Highlighting in Qlik Sense

For example, you may want to show the top 10 competitors by their market share in a tabular graph.

You may also want to show a bar chart with the same data sorted in descending order and allow the user to select one of the competitors to highlight your organization against the competitor.  Now, you can visually see if your organization is lagging or leading the competitor in different colors all the while still showing the rest of the competitors in a lighter shade.

Let’s assume that Grunewald represents your company and you have a drop-down filter to let users select a competitor to visualize 1. Whether your organization is leading or lagging and 2. Show other competitors in a lighter shade for ease of analysis.


Highlighting in Qlik Sense

The drop-down shows the top 10 competitors: (vCustomers)


The vertical bar is a waterfall chart with one measure. (Master measure = compSales)

Dynamic Label:

Horizontal Bar Chart:

In order to show all the bars, use 1 as an identifier.

Color expression for brushing:

You can render same subset of data in a tabular form by highlighting rows.

Highlighting Line Charts

You can use a similar approach to highlight a line chart for effective visualization especially when you have many lines to compare.

As the user selects multiple values from the filter, the chart highlights those cities for ease of data analysis. All the other lines are still visible in a lighter shade.

Use 1 as an identifier to show all the lines

If you use February 2021 release, you can create a master measure for the color expression and then show lines using the following color expression:

Effective storytelling is an integral part of effective visual design.

It’s both art and attention — to make it easier for your users to gain insights quickly — that matters most when you design a data-driven application in Qlik Sense.

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