Horizon Graphs: Visualize Multiple Time Series & Compare Trends
Horizon Graphs are an incredibly space efficent way to analyze and compare multiple time series data sets. See a complete BI Dashboard utilizing Horizon Graph visualizations. Horizon Graphs are a fantastic way to overview a large number of time series in a limited rectangular space.
Horizon Graphs pack the information in a Line Graph in 1/6th the space using a smart pre-attentive color encoding algorithm. Users can scan huge amounts of data points across all relevant time series and immediately identify areas of concern that require closer scrutiny.
Intuitive performance comparisons
Panopticon's visual designers and programmers created the Horizon Graph to make it easy to examine how a large number of items (stocks, product sales, employee satisfaction, and other data) have changed through time. Horizon Graphs let you:
- Spot extraordinary behaviors and predominant patterns
- View each item independently from the others
- Make comparisons between items
- View changes with enough precision to determine if further examination is required
Save screen real estate in BI dashboards — Give your users more data to work with
Use Horizon Graphs in conjunction with Treemaps, Stack Graphs and other information visualizations to create an effective analytical dashboard. Our Horizon Graph visualization is particularly useful when you need to see a large number of time series on a single screen. This makes it easy to compare trends and spot patterns that would be very difficult or impossible to see in a standard report. They work well in combination with Treemap, Heatmap and Scatter Plot visualizations in interactive analytical dashboards since they allow you to see your data from different perspectives. This data visualization displays quantitative values using a combination of length (like in a line graph, where the height of the curve represents the underlying value) and color. Users can read exact values from the visualization by hovering their cursor over specific points on the Graph.
Jeffrey Heer at Stanford University together with Nicholas Kong and Maneesh Agrawala at the University of California at Berkeley published a research study that compares the performance of the Horizon Graph to that of a Line Graph. The study, Sizing the Horizon: The Effects of Chart Size and Layering on the Graphical Perception of Time Series Visualizations, concludes that the Horizon Graph is more effective than the traditional line graph when graph sizes are small. The Horizon Graph results in fewer estimation errors, with similar or slightly longer estimation times. Read Jeffrey Heer's research paper on the Horizon Graph data visualization.
Stephen Few on Horizon Graphs
Information Visualization guru Stephen Few wrote about Horizon Graphs in his influential Perceptual Edge blog. He said:
"Almost every good invention is developed in response to a particular problem. The Horizon Graph was developed in response to a need shared by many organizations to examine how a large number of items (stocks, product sales, employee satisfaction, and so on) changed through time... The Horizon Graph succeeds because its designer kept the rules of visual perception in mind as he worked his way, one design step at a time, testing each as he proceeded, towards the goal. This is a good example of how effective innovations in the field of information visualization are developed."
"The information visualization research community produces many innovations each year, which I'm always excited to discover in the research literature or during visits to research labs. I get a special thrill, however, when I find an effective innovation that has been incorporated into commercial software, where it must reside to reach a broad audience. Only a few commercial software vendors are producing effective visualization solutions today. When I run across an example like the Horizon Graph, it gives me joy to make it known and praise its worth. It gives me greater joy by far than what I get when bemoaning the poor designs of most business intelligence vendors, which is rarely fun at all."