The Pros and Cons of Scatterplots

The Pros and Cons of Scatterplots

Scatterplots may not be used too often in infographics, but they definitely have their place. They can show large quantities of data and make it easy to see correlation between variables and clustering effects. As a quick overview and analytical tool, scatterplots are invaluable and work with almost any continuous scale data.

Unfortunately, scatterplots aren’t always great for presentation. Several problems occur frequently, and it’s best to be aware of each when using scatterplots for analysis or presentation.

A scatterplot works by placing one dimension on the vertical axis and a different dimension on the horizontal axis. Each piece of data is represented by a point on the chart. Variations on scatterplots introduce differently shaped or colored points for categories and differently sized points for quantitative data. Occasionally, people use pie charts as the points in scatterplots to show even more data with a part-whole relationship.

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