A dot plot shows one or more quantitative values per category by plotting one or more dots per category on a numerical (or date-time) axis. A dot plot with only one value per category makes a comparison between those categories very easy. When the dot plot has multiple values per category, you can also compare within the categories. This results in a chart type that packs a lot of information in a small space.
Since the dots communicate information via their position on the axis, and relatively via their position towards each other, the start- and end-point of the axis should be based on the minimum and maximum values in the data. There is no need to start the axis at zero.
By adding a connector between the dots, you can add an extra dimension to an already information-dense chart: The connector adds a focus on the delta between two values or the range between a minimum and maximum value.
This is probably the most simple alternative to a dot plot. Bar charts represent values with bar length rather than relative position on a numerical axis. To replace multi-series dot plots, one can choose either a stacked or grouped bar chart, facilitating comparisons within and between categories.
A slope chart serves as an excellent substitute for a dumbbell chart when you want to highlight the evolution between two specific values. It's particularly effective at conveying the magnitude and direction of the difference between these two data points. Instead of relying on dots, it uses the angle of the slope itself to express this change.
A range chart can be used as an alternative to a two- or multi-series dot plot if it is more important to focus on the delta between two points or the range between the minimum and maximum value of multiple points. This type of chart is easy to understand and useful for presenting data to a wide audience due to its simplicity.
A dot plot can be a pretty simple chart. Its minimum pack is categorical and numerical dimensions and a fixed size mark. Color is the thing that adds the edge to this chart. It might be used to place simple accents, but it can also add a new dimension: numerical, categorical, or even time.