Imagine you have only 1 second (in real life scenarios, sometimes even less) to tell your story. How will you make your data visualization speak for itself? By making every aspect of your visualization count!
Data Labels describe the value associated with the specific point on the chart axes.
More than often, we ignore our data labels reducing them to mumbo jumbos. To ensure that our data labels help in taking our story forward, we need to add some delight to them too.
Here are 5 quick fixes for ugly X-axis data labels:
1. Shorten well-known names like names of weekdays and months
Long data labels merge with one another and affect the readability. When your labels are well-known terms, it is best to shorten them.
2. Skip alternate labels if you have a series of continuous data like days and months
If your labels are continuous and incremental in nature, you can skip the alternate labels. This will reduce clutter from your chart while still communicating the necessary information.
3. Make the common denominator your X-axis name
Common denominators (common words repeated in all labels like Product A, Product B, Product C) are often found in data labels.
Here the word ‘Region’ appears in all the labels. It is better to make the common denominator, your X-axis name. It reduces unnecessary clutter.
4. A 45⁰ slant is more readable than a 90⁰ rotation
In cases where you can’t shorten your labels, it is better to slant them at 45⁰ angle rather than rotating them to 90⁰.
90⁰ rotated labels are difficult to read (unless, you are intentionally wanting to break a few necks). Make your users’ life a little easy by slanting them at 45⁰; they will thank you for it!
5. Add detailed information at the top of the data plot
Sometimes you may have to display additional information (eg: the reasons for the drop in sales) about your data plots.
In such scenarios, putting all the information in the data labels will cause an information overload for the user as well as make your chart cluttered.
Shift some of this information to the top of your data plots. This will ensure that your chart remains uncluttered and the user too does not miss out any information.
Using these simple tips you can easily fix your ugly X-axis labels and make them a delight!
Keep watching this space for more tips on delightful charting!