Finishing Touches to Avoid Clickin' Confusion

How often do you find users get confused clicking around on your viz? Surprisingly, a lot, right? You think it's fairly simple, just click to filter.  But most people double-click. Telling everyone not to double-click is pointless. So they double click and zoom in on a chart and are completely baffled as to how to get out of it (it's not entirely intuitive). Or they click on a chart that doesn't zoom, but it highlights and dims all the other values (which you don't want).

Here's a very simple solution. There's probably a better option, but this is quick. Float a text box over your chart. Yup,that simple. I put a period in the text box so that it sizes - and will change the font color to match the chart background..

But what if you want them to be able to click on a chart to filter, but not have it zoom? Create a dual axis chart using symbol and bar, then put a text box over the bars. Click the circles to filter on the quarter.

How To?

This trick uses Jonathan Drummey's 0.0 field - create a calculated field with the value "0.0". The axis for the 0.0 field is fixed to make the shapes appear at the top of the chart.

Start: -1.0
End: 0.1

For the shape, I used a radio icon and I don't know where I got it - I think it was part of Snagit's stamps, but you could also try some of these at Mashable.

To ensure that the bars don't overlap the circles, I've added a distribution reference band, set for 120% of Maximum [Sales]. Set the label to none as well as the line and fill. The text box from the chart above covers this area.

The user can still double click on the radio buttons and cause double clicking chaos, but it'll be less likely.

I should note that the zoom controls are set to 'hide', but the ability to double-click zoom is still there.

In the help view on the map I've put instructions on how to re-set both the map and a chart.

Let me know if any of you have tricks on this one that will help users be less confused.  Cheers!


  1. Simply brilliant. I don't fully understand it yet, but I sure see the potential uses of this. Thanks for sharing!

  2. In your dashboard once user clicks on radiobutton and filters to a particular quater there is no way to reset it. That is a no-no I guess. There is no elegant way to fix it I guess.

    So doubleclick issue is probably the smaller of 2 evils.

  3. Hi Ivan - I'm not sure if I understand, but the radio button filter is set to select a quarter and when you want to change it you select another. I could have set it so that clearing the filter then shows "all" and that would be a second click. When I set the filter that way, I usually explain it somewhere, because it does get confusing. e.g. "Click quarter to filter, click again to clear". In this case I didn't want to show all the values for the entire data range - just specific quarters. Hope that is what you meant. Thanks!