This blog entry was written by Bryan Pierce of Perceptual Edge.
In January 2006, when Steve first introduced bullet graphs as a more effective alternative to circular gauges in his book, Information Dashboard Design, they were no more than a design concept that he created using Adobe Illustrator. There were no functional bullet graphs being used in the real world and any application of them would have required custom programming. They were a useful design that hadn’t been implemented.
Now, as we start 2009, it’s been three years since bullet graphs were first introduced. Over that time, they’ve become popular as an alternative to circular gauges as people have noticed their ability to provide more information in a smaller space, which is especially useful for dashboards. Ambitious designers have found tricks to implement bullet graphs in a variety of products, and some software vendors now include bullet graphs in the graph libraries that they provide. As of today, bullet graphs are available or can be created in the following products:
Products that support bullet graphs right out of the box:
MicroCharts (Excel add-in) by Bonavista Systems
CenterView by Corda
Visual:Acuity by Visual Engineering
DExperience by Developer Express
Although not provided as a standard graph type, bullet graphs can also be constructed with:
QlikView by QlikTech
Flex by Adobe
HTML/CSS courtesy of Matt Grams
Google Charts courtesy of Dealer Diagnostics
SVG courtesy of Chris Gerrard
This list has grown significantly in just the last year and I expect it to continue to grow as more people discover the merits of bullet graphs. If you currently use a product that can’t create bullet graphs, be sure to tell the vendor how useful they would be, and if you know of a product that I haven’t mentioned here, please share it by posting a comment.