What is a Bubble Chart?

A bubble chart is a visual representation of data objects in 3 numeric data dimensions (the X-axis data, the Y-axis data, and data represented by the bubble size). This type of chart is often used in business for comparing and visualize the relationships for example between projects or investment alternatives in various dimensions such as cost, value and risk.

bubble chart examples

View more examples of bubble charts.

When to Use a Bubble Chart

Bubble charts can facilitate the understanding of social, economic, and other scientific relationships. For example, we can plot if putting a higher price on cigarettes has prevented people from smoking and decreased the lung cancer cases per capita. Overall, bubble charts are good for visualizing situations, patterns and correlations, but they can’t explain the why of the situation, and how it occurred. 

 

How to Create a Bubble Chart

You can make a bubble chart in 5 easy steps:

  1. Join Infogram to make your own bubble chart design.

  2. Select bubble chart.

  3. Upload or copy and paste your data.

  4. Customize colors, fonts, and labels.

  5. Download your bubble chart or embed on your website.

Best Practices for Creating Bubble Charts

  • Bubble charts allow you to compare more data, but the number of categories you can “map” on it is limited. Too many bubbles in one chart may look chaotic. Remember, less is more.  Show only the categories that are important.
  • Make the chart more readable by keeping bubbles transparent to make “hidden” bubbles visible and help detect the center of each circle.
  • The sizes of the circles need to be drawn based on the circle’s area, not its radius or diameter. Not only will the size of the circles change exponentially, but this will lead to misinterpretations by the human visual system.

Have more questions about the appropriate type of chart to use? Check out this article.