Even in our early school years, we have tried to compare two or more things. We list their similarities and differences. Then we make conclusions on which is the better one. You can use charts, graphs, and more to make it easier to understand the comparisons.

Who would have thought that such tools would still be with us and play valuable roles in our present day lives? Comparison chart templates are still around. They are still as important in making comparisons between two ideas.

Business establishments and organizations still depend on these. Using such charts is an efficient way to compare parameters or ideas. It makes things easy to understand their structure.

Let’s take a group project as an example. You may encounter a situation where you need to make comparisons between them. You’ll do this to determine which the more feasible option is.

Several factors will are usually involved which may need further research. Of course, this is just one instance where you can use the chart. There are many more ways where a comparison chart can prove its importance. The design of this chart will depend on the project’s necessity.

Comparison Chart Templates

Types of comparison charts 

The best comparison chart template should be able to demonstrate its own purpose. And for those who would be designing the chart, you need to answer these questions:

  1. How many comparisons do you intend to present in the chart? Is it just one, or two or more?
  2. How many data points will you include for the intended comparisons? A few or a lot?
  3. Will you be using values among items or over a time period?

We’ve seen all these charts for comparison at one point in time. You should already be familiar with their appearance. Just for the sake of discussion, let’s go over the different types you can create:

Area Charts

We’ve seen these charts before which uses broken lines, going up or down. They are especially common in the stock market business. They usually demonstrate increases and decreases.

Basically, an area chart is a line chart. It’s particularly useful in trends and some comparisons. The best use of this chart type is its presentation of accumulated value changes over a time period.

Bar Charts

These are also known as horizontal column charts. This is ideal if you will be using long category names or titles. This is because bar charts have more space for longer than usual text. You can use such charts when there are more than seven categories but not more than fifteen.

Column Charts

This is perhaps the most common chart in the business. You can make comparisons of different values when specific ones are relevant. This way, users can see and compare values in each column.

It’s expected that users will understand the meanings of these graphs. This is because they are simple and often explanatory.

With this type of chart, you can make comparisons for various categories. You can also compare the changes in values over a defined time period for one category.

Gauge Charts

Often times, colorful gauge charts are great for displaying key performance indicators. These typically display just one value. Then you compare it to a color-coded performance level indicator. On standard, such charts use two colors. Green for “good” and red for “trouble”.

Take a second look at your car’s dashboard as the analogy against business matters is similar. All the car’s key performance indicators are there. Fuel, temperature, battery, and speed all have the appearances of gauge charts.

Each one will indicate the health of your car. When on the red, the car will be having trouble. The same applies to your company. Gauge charts will present to the users the company’s heath. Any red areas will indicate problem spots.

Tables

Charts are essentially based on the information that tables provide. When it comes to a comparison that only concerns a few variables or data points, the table can do the best job. Creating charts will is quite useless if you can’t interpret the data from the table.

 

Comparison Chart Examples

Using comparison charts to compare products 

Comparison chart templates are very useful but they’re not always required. For example, a certain website can be selling a car insurance product. Then another one sells a health insurance product.

Would you need to make comparisons between the two products? There certainly is no logic to that. However, when there are several similar products, it’s different. With products which have the same goals, then such charts will become necessary.

Comparisons charts have been in existence for so long. A lot of them are being implemented to prove the organization’s points or goals. Most are excellently designed but do they really make a dent on their targeted users?

Remember that people do not care much about technical words or technicalities. Most users have average comprehension. If they have to deal with charts, they want something that they can understand.

These contain the bare facts to make them a selection of products. It will be a challenge for the creators to come up with an effective chart. From this, they will have to take into consideration a lot of different factors. Here are several areas that often pose usual difficulties:

Use it to differentiate products
An important function is to describe all the products’ main features. It’s also important to point out the differences of these products. Do this so that the users may understand the offerings. They will be in a better position to choose between the products.

Common features shared between products can take a secondary role. This is because you can find these features in all such products. But you still need to present them. However, you should highlight the differences of products. Indicate what makes a specific product unique.

Use it to compare prices
How you came about the product price is important. You should also present this information in the comparison. Vague information about pricing is a very common problem. It can cast doubts and distrusts with users.

A good chart should display a product’s total cost. In detail, it should explain that such total due to different component costs. The users will definitely find this a great help in understanding price.

Watch out for the information density

Like most things in life, overdoing something tends to create more damage than good. Likewise with comparison chart templates. Too much information about products will bring on confusion with users.

You want to give the readers a clearer picture of what the products can offer. However, too much information would just lessen the user’s abilities to discern.

Don’t resort to very long, boring, and too technical explanations. Your users will easily lose interest. Provide concise descriptions and if possible, use bullet points. These are short and direct to the point.

It may cost you a little more time preparing such charts but it will increase the effectiveness.

Comparison Chart Samples

Some great practices when making comparisons

Charts are effective tools in demonstrating business conditions. Imagine yourself explaining to your boss why there should be an increase in your budget. You must know why you need more people in your team. Words alone will not suffice to make it convincing. Together with good research data, charts and graphs can help to prove your point.

Make charts, and if possible, customized graphs to become convincing. Such extra work can readily impress your boss and that you are serious about presenting your case. Seek assistance in the customizing part.

Make sure that what you present will have relevance in substance. The charts should be beautiful and understandable in form as well. Consider the following tips when making your charts:

Use the right chart
What type of chart are you going to use to convey your message? Often times, the kind of data you have will define the chart you will need. You can use an alignment chart template or some other template you think is appropriate.

Bear in mind that not all charts are appropriate for all purposes. There is always a choice that will optimize your goal.

To compare categories, you use pie graphs or bar graphs
With pie graphs, you usually compare the parts of a whole. These are very effective when one of the categories is very much larger than the others. Bar graphs, on the other hand, can compare a lot of different things.

Invariably, they are the best graphs to serve your purpose. It’s easy to read a bar graph. Even those with highlighted differences between the categories. They are just so convenient.

Also, consider line graphs

These are common in newspaper business sections and even in the cinema. They are like the horizontal version of bar charts. They’re effective and dependable in illustrating changing trends over a period of time.

You can keep track of different values over a given time frame but bear in mind that the most important part of a line chart is the time element.

Stay Away from 3D Components

Presenting graphs in 3D is one of the most overused data visualization effects. Most people believe that it makes data presentation look more fancy and sophisticated. However, there seems to be something taxing when reading 3D graphs where you need to tilt your head.

One would feel a little discomfort doing this. As a result, the reader gets a skewed sense of what the data actually means. Distractions caused by 3D graphs may weaken your argument.

Include branded colors
You can always use preset programs for your charts. But the colors that come with these are pretty drab and boring. Spruce your program up by using your own brand colors when emphasizing your points. Such small changes can make a lot of difference.

Tips for making a comparison chart template 

Charts are basically summarized numerical data expressed in pictures. They’re an effective way to make people comprehend a comparison better and faster. You can use charts in many venues like business, politics, and education.

Different subjects can be best demonstrated with the use of charts. Designing charts to attract the attention of readers is a requirement these days. So the design should make for easier understanding and not confuse your audience.

Designs should be simple and easy to understand. Here are some tips for you:

  • Gather your data first

When you compare items, be to hold them to the same standards. Let’s take, for instance, comparing the growth of two companies. Make sure to base the comparison on the same period of growth.

It would be confusing, if not unfair, to do otherwise. Gather all the accurate data you need first to make your chart valid and true.

  • Choose your comparison chart’s visual style

As earlier mentioned, there are different types of charts. You can choose the one which will work best depending on the subject matter. Line graphs are best effective at trends over a time frame.

Pie charts work well at showing percentages. Use bar graphs when analyzing statistics for two entities. They are also useful when comparing different time periods.

  • Decide how many graphs to use for your chart

You can use two different graphs. Either that or just use one but apply color coding or other methods to differentiate the data.

  • Come up with the scale for your comparison chart

Let’s use an example for this point. For instance, you were doing a graph to compare population for a certain community. Your scale would likely be in the millions of people.

There’ll be a tick on your chart for every 200,000 population increase. The scale is an important part of your chart so make sure to think about it carefully.

  • Color code your comparison chart

Do this so the variables you’re comparing are visually distinct from each other. You can make a chart comparing the profits of your company from different years.

Red could be for one year’s data, blue for another and yellow for still another, and so on. This would make it simple for the reader to differentiate the data. It’s easy to see the difference as well as the trends.

TemplateLab April 30th, 2018