What Ann K Emery really thinks about clustered bar charts.

We used to have only one or two ugly visuals in every report...But then we heard how important visuals can be. So now we have an ugly visual on every page.

Today’s illustration was inspired by Ann K Emery’s blog post on six alternatives to the clustered bar chart.

We can all agree that 3-d exploding pie charts are pretty rotten.

My vote for worst chart? The clustered bar chart.

I see clustered bar charts everywhere. E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. On pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of reports. In slides 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of presentations. In every handout, dashboard, and infographic.

Clustered bar charts aren’t inherently bad, but their overuse is killing me. What’s worse than a text-heavy report with zero graphics? A report that only contains the same chart type over and over and over, regardless of whether that chart is really the best tool for the job.