Suppose you were asked to rank your favorite beer on 8 aspects (Sourness, Bitterness, Sweetness, Saltiness, Yeast, Hop, Malt and Special Grain) and then show them graphically, you might use a Column Chart for it.
But when there are a large number of variables (8 in this case), the Column Chart might look cluttered. In such scenarios, try the Radar Chart instead!
A Radar Chart is a graphical method of displaying multivariate data in the form of a two-dimensional chart of three or more quantitative variables represented on axes starting from the same point. (Source: Wikipedia)
Each of the 8 aspects of our beer example form individual axes which have been arranged radially around a point. The value of each aspect is depicted by the node (anchor) on the spoke (axis). A line is drawn connecting the data values for each spoke. And thus you get your Radar Chart showing all your data values at one go!
So much for one beer—you may wonder! Now imagine you have 2 beers to compare.
The 2 beers are ranked on each of the 8 parameters. The color coding for each beer helps to visually correlate and contrast the beers over its diverse aspects. If you like your beer bitter, the chart gives you an indication that maybe it's time you switched to Beer B (as Beer B has a higher rank in bitterness to Beer A).
Where can Radar (Spider) charts be used?
Now that you have got a hang of the Radar chart, let’s keep our beer mugs aside for a while and see some of its business applications.
Skill Analysis of Employees:
A Radar chart can come in handy during the appraisal and review process.
HR managers can visualize employee performance data, based on rankings given by their respective seniors, on a single chart. This chart can also be used to plan employee training by grouping employees who lack a particular skill set (low in rank) and then designing suitable remedial procedures for the group.
Compare between two or more products over a range of characteristics using a Radar Chart.
Let's say you want to compare between 2 mobile phones over features like Battery, Camera, Display, Memory and Brand. Get to know which mobile is better when it comes to your most desired feature.
Go see more examples of the Radar Chart here.