Waffle Chart


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A waffle chart depicts progress toward a goal or a percentage of completion. A grid of tiny cells is present, with colored cells representing the data. A chart can be divided into one or more categories. Multiple waffle charts can be combined to offer a comparison of various charts.

What Is A Waffle Chart?

A waffle chart is essentially a square display made up of 100 smaller squares organized in a 10-by-10 grid where each box corresponds to 1%. The colored boxes represent the percentage of the target that was met, with 100 percent being the entire goal. The squares are colored to represent the proportions that will be represented, similar to how various slices of a pie chart are colored. Because its square pattern resembles a scrumptious waffle, the chart’s name is self-explanatory:

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Features Of Waffle Chart

  • A waffle chart is visually appealing and may liven up the dashboard.
  • It’s quite straightforward to read and comprehend. Each chart in the KPI waffle chart below includes one data point, and a fast scan will tell the degree of the target reached per KPI.
  • It catches the reader’s attention and may be used to successfully emphasize a certain metric/KPI.
  • It does not mislead or manipulate.

Uses Of Waffle Chart

  • The Waffle chart is used for data that is perfectly flat and adds up to 100%. The proportion of a variable is highlighted to offer the representation by the number of highlighted cells. It can be used for a variety of applications, including the ones listed below.
  • To show the proportion of work completed.
  • To show the proportion of progress that has been accomplished.
  • To show the costs incurred in relation to the budget.
  • To show the profit percentage.
  • To depict the actual value attained in comparison to the established aim, as in sales.
  • To visualize the company’s development in relation to the goals that have been established.
  • To show the pass rate of a test in a college/city/state.

Types / Alternatives Of Waffle Chart

Many waffle charts are not made out of squares, but rather other forms, most often circles. Other forms, such as little icons, are also possible—in this instance, we’re getting close to the territory of pictogram charts.

Waffle charts with more (or less) than 100 units, where the elements reflect actual amounts rather than fractions or percentages, offer another option.

In the latter situation, there are some parallels with the charts we often see following elections, which indicate the allocation of the various seats. One may argue that these kind of charts (‘Parliament charts’) are simply a distorted version of waffle charts.

Some individuals choose to rotate their waffle charts by 45° for aesthetic reasons.

A circular waffle chart is also known as a plum pudding chart, after J.J. Thomson’s plum pudding model for the atom, which was inspired by a Christmas dessert.

Some people may use a grid map of waffle chart to summarize a data in one chart. The chart below shows the use of internet in African countries.

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Are 3-d Waffle Charts Possible?

No, 3-D Waffle charts are not possible to draw. They do not give biased results.

Advantages Of Waffle Chart

  • It’s aesthetically appealing.
  • It’s really easy to read.
  • It has no effect on the data.
  • It goes beyond mere data visualization to give visual communication.
  • It makes the analysis more quantitative. This is due to the fact that in a waffle chart, cells are numbered rather than angle and area. Of course, most of the time, we merely employ at-a-glance understanding. Labels are useful for determining exact quantities.
  • The unusual format activates our brain.

Disadvantages Of Waffle Chart

  • When there are too many parts in a Waffle Chart, it gets overly difficult.
  • Individualized spaces do not allow for the inclusion of numbers or text inside the image.
  • You may try to utilize more than one data point per waffle chart, as seen below, however it becomes confused after a handful of data points. In the example below, showing three data points in the chart was OK, but attempting to present six data points makes the graphic difficult to understand (the chart loses its ability to quickly show a comparison).
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