Woof. Getting the Point Across.

Often it’s easier to get the point across when it’s quicker to get to the point.  That’s why we use charts.  As a visualisation they should draw us to the key trends and figures without having to trawl through rows and columns of data.  However, aren’t they a bit boring?  Can’t we get the point across in a more immediate and engaging way?  So let’s strip away those axes and titles then see what we can do with a data set on pet ownership in the UK which I’ve taken from http://www.pfma.org.uk/regional-pet-population-2016 and stripped down to just the northern regions.  Here’s the raw data:

 Region Indoor Fish Outdoor Fish Cats Dogs Rabbits Guinea Pigs Indoor Birds Hamsters Sample
North-East 11 4 12 31 4 1 2 1 512
North-West 9 4 16 28 2 1 2 1 1437
Yorks & Humb 9 5 19 27 3 2 2 1 1029

Exciting isn’t it?

After a bit of restructuring I loaded it into Qlik and converted it into the below.  Notice that none of the visualisations have titles, axes and so forth.  Hopefully the dashboard title, the images and the text get the point across.


If you’re not a fan of list boxes for making selections you can assign actions to the text boxes in their place.  For example, if I assign an action to the North East text box so that clicking on it places a selection on the Region column the charts will adapt accordingly:



I’ll list some tips on recreate the Dog and Cat chart but these methods can be used to create your own versions.  A more common use might be for showing gender % in HR data, for example, with a male/female logo placed over a bar chart.


Any transparent image can be used to create these.  Let your imagination run wild.

Dog and Cat Chart

Create a vertical bar chart.  Make sure to remove titles, dimension labels and captions.  Also tick the hide axis option as per below


You’ll need to find a simple image online that you want to mask your bar chart with and make the body of it (the parts you want to fill) transparent.  I used the website http://www.online-image-editor.com/  to achieve this.  Load this image into Qlik via a text box and place it over your bar chart.  The tricky part is getting the sizing of both the image and bars to match.  Best to change the values in the Bar Settings to set the distance between bars and clusters.bar-size

Also make sure that you assign layer values (found in the Layout tab) to the chart and the image.  The image should have a higher value to ensure it always stays on top.


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