Altmetric Blog

New Feature Alert: Introducing the Bar Visualisation

Scott Matthewman, 12th November 2014

One of the things that appealed to me when I joined Altmetric recently was the distinctive visual ‘donut’ that illustrates the various different sources of attention that an article has attracted.

Introducing Altmetric's new bar visualisation.

Introducing Altmetric’s new bar visualisation.

I really like how the donut’s fixed number of slices forces the eye to appreciate the approximate proportions of an article’s sources. Any visualisation that is more precise, such as a more conventional pie chart, tempts us to look too closely at proportions of one source against another, as well as potentially allowing one particular source which has generated loads of mentions to completely overshadow the others.

I happen to think that including lots of donuts on a single page can look pretty awesome, especially in views such as Altmetric Explorer’s Tiled mode. But when including badges on your own site, it may be the case that what works for our site isn’t quite right for your own.

That’s partly the reason why we’ve always offered a variety of badge styles – donuts in three different sizes, along with smaller badges that contain a simpler button and score. And for most uses of our embeddable badges, I think the range of sizes and popover options should enable you to get badged up really easily and effectively.

Much as I love the donut, though, it may not be appropriate in every situation – but the smaller buttons with just an Altmetric score lack that proportional, at-a-glance view that makes the donuts so appealing.

So now, we offer another visualisation type for your site: the bar. It’s got the same colour scheme as the donut, in the shape of a horizontal strip. Think of it as the cruller to our usual ring donut.

Available in three fixed sizes, bar badges work best when space is at a premium, such as within tabular lists of articles where even the smallest donut would make each row of the table far too deep. We’re using such an arrangement in the summary report pages within our Altmetric for Institutions pages.

The bar visualisation as it appears in Altmetric for Institutions.

The bar visualisation as it appears in Altmetric for Institutions.


As you can see from the screenshot above, the bars’ scoreless display emphasises the proportionate attention each paper has been receiving. You can provide more information even at this level by using our optional popovers with statistical breakdowns – and if your table data clicks through to more details about an article, you can of course continue to use the traditional donut on those pages.


Installing the bar visualisation on your pages

Badge builder

The interactive badge builder on our embeddable badges documentation.

The bars are available right now – all you need to do is specify bar, medium-bar or large-bar as the badge style in your embed code. If you head to our embeddable badges documentation page, you can see for yourself in the interactive badge builder.

If you’re using our badges on your site already, you can put the new designs to use straight away. If you’re not using our badges yet, now’s the perfect time to try, and it’s really easy – see our documentation for a step-by-step guide.

Let us know how you get on with the new bars, as well as our other badge styles, and send us examples of how you’re including them on your website – we love to see how people are putting Altmetric’s information to use!

7 Responses to “New Feature Alert: Introducing the Bar Visualisation”

Scott Matthewman (@scottm)
November 12, 2014 at 12:00 am

My first blog post for @altmetric: New Feature Alert: Introducing the Bar Visualisation

Ernesto Priego (@ernestopriego)
November 12, 2014 at 12:00 am

ICYMI. RT @altmetric: New @altmetric Feature Alert: Introducing the Bar Visualisation #altmetrics #citylis

Tavish Bell (@TavishBell)
November 12, 2014 at 12:00 am

Beyond the donut: @altmetric has released a new #visualization for their #altmetrics #data reports:


November 13, 2014 at 12:00 am

Good move - you can now embed altmetric badges without including the score. #altmetrics

November 13, 2014 at 12:00 am

GOOD IDEA #Altmetrics
New Feature Alert: Introducing the Bar Visualisation -

Keita Bando (@KeitaBando)
November 13, 2014 at 12:00 am

.@Altmetric’s new bar visualisation. #altmetrics

[…] RT @altmetric: New @altmetric Feature Alert: Introducing the Bar Visualisation #altmetrics  […]

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