The Blow Apart Effect


Guideline: Do not use blow apart effects

Can I use the blow apart effect as feedback for a linked-view interface? As part of a dashboard, I have implemented a bar chart showing data from 20-50 sources. The color channel has been used to indicate the 7 categories of these sources. When one source is selected in another view, I move other bars on both sides of the selected source a little away. A visualization researcher told me that I should not do this as it is a blow apart effect. But what he suggested seems to be equally problematic (e.g., making thicker outline, changing size, animation, and so on). Please help.


Actually, in my opinion, you could use the blow apart effect in this scenario
and I think it would be fine. In fact, most focus and context techniques should
work very well as far as i can see. Here is some more information on
focus + context if you’re interested:

-cheers, bob


Thank you, Bob, very much. This is reassuring. I have seen blow apart effect in MS-Excel charting tools. I do not feel strongly that they are that bad as it is easier to see individual segments when colors are less distinguishable. Am I correct to say that it is more OK to use blow apart effect for doughnut charts but less OK for pie charts?

Thank you for your help. Andrea