I always enjoy Barry Harmsen’s popular-culture-and-Qlikview posts like last week’s “What QlikView developers can learn from The Karate Kid“.
If I got you back from reading Barry, here’s my bit of Mr Miyagi wisdom: “Focus not Filter”.
Green/white/gray in a listbox provides focus on the selected data while still keeping all data visible. The same concept can sometimes be useful in charts. Emphasizing selected data while keeping all data visible maintains context and provides for consistent comparison.
Here are a few examples of techniques I use with QlikView charts to “Focus not Filter”.
All data and selected data can be shown side by side on a chart with the currently selected data emphasized.
Maintaining constant scale as users make selections can be a good way to maintain context. The image on the left is in the clear state, the image on the right has 13 of 51 values selected. The y-axis scale remains constant which makes it clear to the user that they are now working with a relatively small number of schools.
“Graying out” unselected data is another favorite technique.
A variation on “graying out” is maintain color but mute unselected data and highlight selected data. In this line chart, unselected data is partially transparent and lines for selected data are shown at 1.5 times standard width.
If you are trying to find the Karate Kid scene where Mr Miyagi says “Focus not Filter”, stop looking. It’s not in there, I made it up. But I’m sure Mr Miyagi would have said it if he used QlikView.