Whether you’re using Excel, Tableau, D3.js, or any other program, follow these guidelines to create effective and consistent data visualizations.
Data visualization can be an excellent way to increase understanding and make comparisons of data. Each graph should have a point that you want the user to walk away knowing.
Using visuals to convey meaning and to tell stories engages the user and creates a memorable experience. Part of this is choosing the correct visualization for the data. Make sure you understand the data and the relationship of your data before you choose visuals to help explain it to others.
Occasionally, data visualization isn’t the best approach. A well crafted sentence or table may be a better solution to convey specific points or a precise numerical interpretation. Graphs are most useful when you want the user to walk away with a general sense of the data and to interpret patterns.
- Is data visualization necessary to help achieve your objective?
- Do you understand the data set?
- What do you want people to walk away knowing?