You think you’re reading an essay. You’re not. You’re moving through a funnel. This shouldn’t surprise you. You’ve been moving through funnels all day. This funnel is a pretty simple one. You ended up on Medium somehow, you got to this essay, you’ve read this far. Those are all steps on this funnel, it looks something like this:
Funnels are interesting not only from the perspective of data visualization but also because they’re an important metaphor used to optimize your experience online. As a result, there are different ways that data visualization has been used to view funnels. Most of the time we use a bar chart like the one above. Each bar represents the number of people who made it to that step. There are other ways to represent funnel data, which we’ll see below. The way we represent this data epitomizes the tension between representing precision and accuracy in data visualization.