One click waterfall chart

Communicate data with style

Popularized by consulting company McKinsey, the waterfall chart is a variation of column charts that according to wikipedia "helps in understanding the cumulative effect of sequentially introduced positive or negative values." In other words, they help you understand how you got from point A to point B. They also offer a valuable alternative to pie charts. Let’s explore these two ways to use the waterfall chart.

USAGE 1

From point A to point B

Green values are positive, red values are negative, each column starts at the beginning of the previous column. In plain English : you start with $800K in product revenue, you add $300K in service revenue, you substract $90K of discount, $300K of salaries and $100K of shipping cost and arrive at a total profit of $600K.

Usage 2

Breakdown

Waterfall charts can be used much like a pie chart or treemap to visualize the decomposition of a number. However, the waterfall adds a clear emphasis on how the total is incrementally built via easy to read individual values. Below is the same data displayed in both a waterfall chart and pie chart, showing the number of Jack Bauer kills across all nine seasons of the TV series “24”.

VS

What's up with the "one click" thing?

Until today, creating waterfall charts has been somewhat convoluted, requiring raw data manipulation and a long list of steps. In BIME, starting today, creating a waterfall chart is as simple as selecting the chart type. An interesting and innovative direction of bundling visualization and data processing. Open your data streams and give the waterfall a try. A really nice addition to your visualization toolkit.