‘Sparklines‘ are small graphical charts that can be inserted in line with the text. My curiosity was sparked into it when Rajesh ask me to look into for data representation in Mobiles! A discussion forum on sparklines from ‘Edward Tufte‘ ‘s website was a great starting point. Edward Tufte is well know for his contributions in the field of visual literacy and information design. Look into the comments section of the post for more implementation and insights. A example is following
Another neat implementation of the sorting algorithm visually is the following picture.
The use of sparklines in financial stuff is pretty evident easily. It their inherent ability (when used properly) to pack huge amount of dense data. Following is a excerpt from the book – Beautiful Evidence where there is a chapter on Sparklines.
More exploration in the comments section leads to a beautiful implementationby Mariano
We can easily see how we can see the trends and patterns of the yahoo stock so easily … I just cannot imagine getting so much of information in far lesser a place. Imagine the use of such visualization where space is a crunch! Lovely smart use of color, font,size and shading!
Also do check out the wiki dedicated to sparklines http://sparkline.org/ and if you want to quickly play with sparklines checkout the script at http://intepid.com/stuff/sparklines/
Use see the use of sparklines in google finance. They have put it to great use – in general I am awed with their display flash app 🙂 ! The php script and the excel plugin are also pretty cool – I tried them out and was impressed what I could build upon in a day on the open source i.e just tweaking it to my requirements. Hope this post is pricked your interest in one of the several clever ways to show data. the excel bar graphs and pie charts are not the only ones! making them inline is cooler!