Displaying Progress


I’ve attached two simple graphs (and data) that illustrate my attempts to display progress (or ‘direction of travel’) made by clients in a service. They were assessed when they come into the service, and again when they exit, in seven different areas. I’ve attached two graphs as examples (one specific to an mental health, the other is a summary across the seven assessment areas).

They’re fairly simple graphs, but they don’t allow the reader to quickly grasp if clients made ‘good’ progress.

I want readers to quickly discern whether clients who entered with poor mental health made positive progress or not.

Any suggestions?

Many thanks,

9 thoughts on “Displaying Progress

  1. I always like to stack these as bars – find it makes the comparison between different assessment areas easier. Since the responses (Got better/Stayed the same/Got worse) are answers on a spectrum, it makes sense (to me, at least!) that they’d be connected on one bar/column, as opposed to split up as different columns (as in the original). Quick example, below.

    • Thanks, these are all really useful. I agree; stacking the bars makes the comparison easier (thanks Tim) – and reminded me of Stephanie Evergreen’s stacked/sliding bar charts where she aligns the bars at the midpoint. Thanks!

  2. How about Divergent Stacked Bars?

    See for an interactive and downloadable where the sort can be adjusted. With more data, a guided analytics application could be built.

    • Great; I like how you’ve used divergent stacked bars, – and the options that could be added in Tableau. There is a regional element to this data, which holds the potential for guided analytics component. Molly

  3. I would use a stacked bar plot, but use negative space (thanks Andy) to represent patients who did not get better or worse. I believe this leads to a cleaner visualization, while still retaining all the detail.

      • Thanks Ramnath; yes, the use of negative space certainly makes for a cleaner, easier to read visualisation. I’m impressed to see how you’ve managed to also get an indication of the state the client entered in on the graph also. Still a bit hard to read though. What programme are you using?

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