Show and Tell Tuesday: 3 fun visuals to know and use - part 1

My most recent postcard about choosing formats for showing information visually - from timelines to graphs to maps - has inspired me to share some lesser known ones in a new blog series I am calling "Show and Tell Tuesday"!

Every other Tuesday I will feature three fun visuals that I've created (unless otherwise credited). These will demonstrate how and why you might consider using similar ones as part of your information gathering and sharing practices. 

Let's launch by looking at uses for treemaps, circle maps, and Gantt charts.

Treemap to display hierarchical data in shapes

Treemaps are great for emphasizing differences in amounts. Usually they look like a series of stacked rectangles, like the one below, but sometimes circles or other shapes are used instead.

Interestingly, one of the first web-based visualizations was a treemap. SmartMoney's Map of the Market (which looked something like this, but was probably much uglier) displayed live stock market data starting in 1998.

The one below shows the number of pages in congressional bills open in the 113th Congress by committee (data courtesy of

Circle map for brainstorming and context

This is a tool often used in educational environments to assess understanding. A topic in the center is surrounded by related ideas. Then sources of information can be identified in an outer frame.

Learning to organize information is important for all ages and this visual tool can help. The template below was created for a watershed education activity guide for middle-schoolers. It utilizes concentric circles for more complex understanding. This example could help anyone identifying audiences to communicate with

Gantt chart for project management

These are immensely helpful for illustrating stages of a project, particularly when there are many people and tasks involved. Free templates are easy to find online and the time you spend creating your visual plan is time you'll save from confusion and disorganization later.

Here's a demonstration of one I started creating for this blog series.