In our inaugural OpenBI Forum column of April 27, 2006, we discussed the utility of the common and unsexy dot plot for business intelligence (BI). After first acknowledging the seminal contributions of Tufte and Cleveland - let the data tell the visual story - we settled on juxtaposition, scale, performance, size, grouping and overlay as critical considerations for the construction of effective dot plots. We then illustrated the concepts with real-world examples. This column expands on that thinking using a similar format to discuss dimensional graphics - visuals that examine relationships between variables x and y conditioned on the values of another attribute (or set of attributes) z. The z attributes are in fact the dimensions or panels by which we wish to view the relationship between x and y. Used judiciously, we feel that dimension graphics can be an invaluable adjunct for performance management, providing a foundation for the evaluation of company performance.
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