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Chart of the Month – March 2010 – Sweet Spot or Gap

This Chart of the Month is an example of a technique that can convey very simple or very complex illustrations of gaps (as in this example) or "sweet-spots." Gaps can be unoccupied areas on the chart, and sweet spots can be a spot on the chart where overlaid sections have created a highly concentrated sweet spot.

You can use the X and Y axes format (as shown here) or you can use the matrix frameworks in PowerFrameworks as starting points for this type of chart. If your message is simple, you shouldn't need to animate the sections as reveals (the example shown here isn't necessary to animate – but we did). If, however, the concept you're conveying is complex, it will probably be clearer to animate the sections in sequential reveals, particularly with the sweet-spot concept (wipes are a good animation choice). View the second flash for an example of a sweet spot.

The sections should be semitransparent so that underlying sections can still be seen. Sweet spots will automatically become dark as more and more transparent sections are layered onto the chart.

You can also use this technique with data-driven line charts if you draw a semitransparent area that coincides with each line. Remember this technique the next time you need to illustrate these concepts. It just might be the visual concept that illustrates your message best.

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