How This Bear Market Compares – NY Times

A problem frequently encountered with displaying multiple series with overlapping data points within a single line chart is that they just seem to entangle themselves. To get an idea of all the data point that a series represents, the user has to either mentally segregate it from the rest or click on it to highlight the particular line. The NY Times recently published a chart How This Bear Market Compares that tries to solve this problem by highlighting a series on mouseover so that it stands out from the others. A floating text provides the description of the event.

Over the weekend, it tried to replicate this chart. Jon (MVP and Excel chart expert) in one of his posts described how to use Chart Events to highlight a series. I took the code he had written and modified that to achieve the series mouseover effect with a pseudo tooltip.

You can download the file here

So how does this bear market compare to the NY Times? Well……almost there.

What Do You Think ?

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Comments and Trackbacks

  1. Jon Peltier wrote:

    Nice job. The major issue I had with your chart was that the pseudo-tooltip did not always appear at a good location. Sometimes it was on top of the data, other times it extended beyond the edge of the chart. If you set a position for it right under the “click to investigate” label, it would be better. Another thing I missed in your chart and in the NY Times chart is a list somewhere that allowed me to select a series without hunting for it in the chart.

  2. jeff weir wrote:

    That’s nice work, Ajay. I’d suggest a slight change…do away with the text box saying what market the user is looking at on 2 counts:

    1) It’s really distracting when you’re mousing over lines before you actually select anything. An empty box appears, and moves around even when you’re mousing over empty space on the graph. Maybe this is perculiar to Excel 2007. But its really distracting

    2) It doesn’t add any info to what appears on the graph and what appears in the series ‘tooltip’ after you mouse over a series. eg mouse over the NOV series and you get a tooltip saying “Series “NOV 1973”. If you change your series name to “NOV 1973 Bear market: here’s what took place” then that’s what would appear in the tool tip.

  3. Ajay wrote:

    Thanks Jeff. Point(s) well made.

    Well actually, the chart was made initially to simply re-create what NY Times had made using flash. (There were a few more that I did back then, including the one that dealt with on cutback by airlines in the US). So though the trailing box really adds no value and the narration is pretty much blank (laziness more than anything else), the idea was to get it as close to the other graphic as possible and to show that this can be done in Excel as well.

    The NY Times hasn’t really done too many visualizations lately to pick up though 🙁

  1. da TaB is On » Simulating Multithreading in VBA using Excel wrote:

    […] a user input and process a piece of code. I sometimes tend to use mouse move (See my previous post: How This Bear Market Compares) to execute and display information while the user is browsing through an image or a chart. The […]


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