Foundational research by William S. Cleveland and Robert McGill found in their paper "Graphical Perception and Graphical Methods for analyzing Scientific Data", Science, New Series, Vol. 229, No. 4716, pp 828-833, studied what graph types people are able to interpret with accuracy. Their findings of what people were able to decode most accurately are ranked in the following list from easiest to most difficult to decode:
Picking one of these can help you to select the chart that will work best for you. There are a number of resources you can use to pick the right chart:
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