Visualise surveys legibly

Opinions, trends and behaviours – the interest in surveys is growing steadily. Numerous evaluation results are prepared and presented daily. Diverse ways of visualising the results are available, still some essential basics should be considered.

Good to know: Survey results are most interesting when the reader can quickly draw comparisons.

When executing the primary demands, mostly some classic mistakes are made which can be easily avoided.

  • Use vertical axes for visualising survey results. These are legibly especially when your readers should be able to draw comparisons. (In addition you will reduce your space challenges as when you choose horizontal axes and are forced to maybe use turned captions.)
Negativbeispiel Umfragen mit horizontaler Achse darstellen
  • Label relevant information directly with the diagram and not in “far-off” legends. This is how you allow your viewer to concentrate on the content of your survey.
Negativbeispiel Umfragen darstellen

Make the handling of your survey easier for your reader by differentiating between survey results with and without multiple answers/choices in your illustration:


Servey results without multiple answers

All questions of which the answer adds up to 100% are part hereunder. Those are for example simple yes and no questions or either or questions as well. With regards to content this relation is important, so visualise it.

Antworten ohne Mehrfachnennung darstellen


Survey results with multiple choices

With many surveys multiple choices are given. Here the adding to 100% is not of relevance. The visualisation of results should be able to illustrate that easily and concentrate on a quick comparison of results.

Umfragen gut präsentieren


Beautiful new world of infographic

The presentation of survey results is often equated with the design of infographics. Those graphics are optically interesting, create attention and are easily shared on social media channels. (Believing the marketing of many tool provider, good infographics are designed pretty easily.)

A closer look at several infographics, the information density is either little (see example below). Or complex data are drowned in a graphical “wanting too much”.

Negativbeispiel Tortendiagramm


Without a doubt infographics offer great chances for the visualisation of your survey results. Before that it is necessary to know your target group and choose with visual judgement which correlations are so relevant that they need to be visualised. There is only one rule of thumb for visualising – see above – “The reader wants to be able drawing quick comparisons.”