Specific Guidelines – Graphs

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Table of Contents for Section E

E. Graphs

1. Bar Graphs

1a. Vertical

1b. Horizontal

1c. Double

2. Line Graphs

3. Pie Graphs

4. Scatter Plots

 

Graphs

1. Bar Graphs

1a. Vertical Bar Graphs

An example of a vertical Bar Graph. The content is explained in this section
© NCAM 2009

Guidelines:

  • Bar graphs should be converted into accessible tables.
  • Briefly describe the graph and give a summary if one is immediately apparent.
  • Provide the title and axis labels.
  • It is not necessary to describe the visual attributes of the bars, e.g. dark blue, light blue, unless there is an explicit need such as an exam question referring to the colors.

Description:

Figure 1 is a bar graph that measures percentage of vaccination coverage in five states over one year, from Q3 2006 to Q2 2007. In each state, the coverage increases over time. The data are summarized in the following table. All data are approximate.
First dose rotavirus vaccination coverage among children aged 3 months, by quarter – immunization information system (IIS) sentinel sites, United States, 2006-2007.
blank space Arizona District of Columbia Michigan Minnesota Montanta Oregon
Q3 2006 35% 10% 5% 0% 15% 20%
Q4 2006 45% 30% 33% 25% 27% 27%
Q1 2007 50% 45% 42% 35% 37% 45%
Q2 2007 65% 48% 50% 41% 40% 44%
 

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1b. Horizontal Bar Graphs

A horizontal bar graph indicating How people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind or have low vision are alerted to emergencies.
© NCAM 2009

Guidelines:

  • While most bar graphs should be converted into accessible tables, this simple chart can also be presented as text in a list.
  • Provide the title and labels.
  • It is not necessary to describe the visual attributes of the bars unless there is an explicit need.

Description

The figure is a bar graph that has been converted into the following table. All data are approximate.
How people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind or have low vision are alerted to emergencies.
Response Deaf/Hard of Hearing Blind/Low Vision
Don’t know 70 79
Friend 59 62
Family 65 64
Co-worker 33 38
TV 102 65
Radio 30 80
Email 36 5
Web 16 4
Landline Phone 25 53
Cellphone 8 11
Pager 17 10
Smartphone/PDA 18 8
TTY 47 0
Video Relay Service 4 0
Phone Relay Service 8 0
Other 7 9
 

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1c. Double Bar Graphs

Example of a double bar graph. Content explained in this section.
© Harcourt 2008

Guidelines:

  • Explain the data on the x-axis and the y-axis and summarize the overall trend.
  • List the data in bullet form.
  • Use the appropriate vocabulary in context with the surrounding text depending upon depending on age/grade level. (For example, using the word “about” and not “approximately” for a lower grade level, and is consistent with surrounding text.)
  • Although the bars on the chart reach approximate numbers, giving specific numbers makes it less wordy and more meaningful.

Description:

A double bar graph shows corn and soybeans crops harvested from 1959 to 1982 in millions of bushels. Both crops increase steadily from 1964 and there are consistently many more bushels of corn harvested than soybeans.
  • 1959: corn, about 65; soybeans, about 5.
  • 1964: corn, about 55; soybeans, about 6.
  • 1969: corn, about 60; soybeans, about 10.
  • 1974: corn, about 77; soybeans, about 23.
  • 1978: corn, about 110; soybeans, about 36.
  • 1982: corn, about 130; soybeans, about 60.
 

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2. Line Graphs

An example of a line graph. Content of graph is explained in this section.
© NCAM 2009

Guidelines:

  • Line graphs should be converted into accessible tables.
  • Briefly describe the chart and give a summary if one is immediately apparent.
  • Provide the title and axis labels.
  • It is not necessary to describe the visual attributes of the lines, e.g. solid, dashed, unless there is an explicit need such as an exam question referring to these attributes. In this case, with just two lines, the added description is not a burden to the reader.

Description:

The figure is entitled “FOREIGN TRADE OF COUNTRY X, 1968 through 1980, in United States dollars”. There are two lines on the graph, a dashed line labeled “Exports” and a solid line labeled “Imports”.The vertical axis is labeled “Billions of Dollars,” beginning with zero to eighteen, in increments of 2. A note: one billion equals a one followed by 9 zeros.The horizontal axis is labeled “Year” and lists all the years from 1968 through 1980.In the graph, the Exports line begins in 1968 at 3 billion dollars, rises steeply to 14 billion in 1974, then drops to 9.5 billion in 1975 and 1976. In 1977, the Exports line shoots up to 15.5 billion, then trails off to 10 billion in 1980.In the graph, the Imports line begins in 1968 at 2 billion and rises steadily to 8.75 billion in 1980, except for minor dips in 1972 and 1979.The data are summarized in the following table. Figures are in billions of dollars. All data are approximate.
FOREIGN TRADE OF COUNTRY X
Year Exports Imports
1968 3 2
1969 3 2.3
1970 4 2.4
1971 5 3.1
1972 10 2.5
1973 13 3.3
1974 14.2 3.7
1975 9.7 4
1976 9.5 5
1977 15.5 5.7
1978 12.5 7
1979 12 6.3
1980 10.2 8.6
 

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3. Pie Graphs

An example of a Pie Graph. The content is explained in this section.
© NCAM 2009

Guidelines:

  • Pie graphs should be converted into accessible tables.
  • It is not necessary to describe the visual attributes of the charts, e.g., red wedge, blue lines, etc., unless there is an explicit need such as an exam question referring to these attributes.
  • It is helpful to list the numbers from smallest to largest, regardless of how they are presented in the image.

Description:

This figure is a pie graph that can be shown in the following table.
Program Expenses
Expense Percent of Total Dollar Amount
Program Supplies and Expenses 2% $3,939
Registry Participation Initiatives 12% $26,052
Registry Operation and Enhancements %28 $63,820
Personnel 28% $63,868
Educational Initiatives 30% $68,860
 

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4. Scatter Plots

A scatter plot graph that shows the relationship between annual rainfall and plant tissue growth
© NCAM 2009

Guidelines:

  • Scatter plots are among the more difficult graphs to describe, especially if there is a need to make specific data point accessible.
  • Provide the title and axis labels.
  • Identify the image as a scatter plot and focus on the change of concentration.
  • If it is necessary to be more specific, convert the data into an accessible table.

Description:

The graph is a scatter plot, entitled “Rainfall and Plant Growth.”The horizontal X axis shows Average Rainfall ranging from zero to four thousand, in units of millimeters per year, in increments of one thousand.The vertical Y axis shows Plant Tissue Production in units of grams per meter squared per year, ranging from zero to three thousand, in increments of five hundred.The graph has approximately 85 points scattered in a pattern beginning in the lower-left corner where Plant Tissue Production and Average Rainfall are the lowest. The pattern extends toward the upper-right corner where Plant Tissue Production and Average Rainfall are the highest.The majority of points are concentrated in the lower-left corner and diminish in concentration as the pattern extends toward the upper-right corner.

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Ideas that work.The DIAGRAM Center is a Benetech initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (Cooperative Agreement #H327B100001). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.

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