Spark Bars in Data Grids

Client: various
Job: Make data tables more comprehensible
Date: 2013 – 2016

I have used spark bars in many projects so often, that they deserve their own project page. Although a spectacular data visualization might be more impressive, I am personally a huge fan of tables and data grids. Especially if the users are already familiar with the data, they often find an additional grid very useful.

A spark bar is a tiny version of a bar chart, put into table cells. Bars can really be very small and still readable. The length of a bar encodes the value in the cell next to it on the left. The bars can have a grey background that encodes 100% or the maximum value in the set. This is particularly helpful if not all rows are visible. You can add more context, for example a mean line, or a spark heatmap that indicates a quality by color. For example, a blue square means that the value is too low, a green square means that the value is perfect.