Free ebook: Visual Analysis Best Practices: Simple Techniques for Making Every Data Visualization Useful and Beautiful

Overview | What you'll learn: You made a visualization! Congratulations: you are part of a small but growing group that’s taking advantage of the power of visualization. However, bringing your visualizations from “good” to “great” takes time, patience, attention to detail, and some basic knowledge of visual analysis best practices. Luckily, we have compiled an important list of techniques to get you started.

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents Start with Questions.............................................................................................................................................5 Choose the Right Chart Type......................................................................................................................7 Trends over Time................................................................................................................................................7 Comparison and Ranking.................................................................................................................9 Correlation...................................................................................................................................................10 Distribution.............................................................................................................................................................11 Part to Whole.........................................................................................................................................13 Geographical Data.................................................................................................................................14 Create Effective Views....................................................................................................15 Emphasize the most important data...........................................................................16 Orient your views for legibility.................................................................................................17 Organize your views.....................................................................................................18 Avoid overloading your views.................................................................................................20 Limit the number of colors and shapes in a single view...........................................................21 Design Holistic Dashboards.................................................................22 General guidelines..................................................................................................................23 Give the wheel to your users with interactivity............................................................................24 Highlighting...............................................................................................................................................25 Filters....................................................................................................................26 Hyperlinking and using the power of the web................................................................30 Sizing: Making sure your visualization is visible...................................................31 Scrollbars..........................................................................................................................................31 Scrunched views..................................................................................................................32 Fitting...............................................................................................................................................................32 Perfecting Your Work.....................................................................................33 Color TV looks better than black and white: Use color visualizations........................34 Fonts: Can you read this? (Can you read this?)...................................................................35 Tooltips tell the story..........................................................................................36 Make intelligent axes or you’ll just have pretty rectangles....................................37 Labeling your visualization in all the right places.............................................................38 Evaluating Your Masterpiece.................................................................................................39

First 3 Pages

Visual Analysis Best Practices Simple Techniques for Making Every Data Visualization Useful and Beautiful Table of Contents Start with Questions.............................................................................................................................................5 Choose the Right Chart Type......................................................................................................................7 Trends over Time................................................................................................................................................7 Comparison and Ranking.................................................................................................................9 Correlation...................................................................................................................................................10 Distribution.............................................................................................................................................................11 Part to Whole.........................................................................................................................................13 Geographical Data.................................................................................................................................14 Create Effective Views....................................................................................................15 Emphasize the most important data...........................................................................16 Orient your views for legibility.................................................................................................17 Organize your views.....................................................................................................18 Avoid overloading your views.................................................................................................20 Limit the number of colors and shapes in a single view...........................................................21 Design Holistic Dashboards.................................................................22 General guidelines..................................................................................................................23 Give the wheel to your users with interactivity............................................................................24 Highlighting...............................................................................................................................................25 Filters....................................................................................................................26 Hyperlinking and using the power of the web................................................................30 Sizing: Making sure your visualization is visible...................................................31 Scrollbars..........................................................................................................................................31 Scrunched views..................................................................................................................32 Fitting...............................................................................................................................................................32 Perfecting Your Work.....................................................................................33 Color TV looks better than black and white: Use color visualizations........................34 Fonts: Can you read this? (Can you read this?)...................................................................35 Tooltips tell the story..........................................................................................36 Make intelligent axes or you’ll just have pretty rectangles....................................37 Labeling your visualization in all the right places.............................................................38 Evaluating Your Masterpiece.................................................................................................39 About this paper You made a visualization! Congratulations: you are part of a small but growing group that’s taking advantage of the power of visualization. However, bringing your visualizations from “good” to “great” takes time, patience and attention to detail. Luckily, we have compiled a short but important list of techniques to get you started. Happy visualizing! Note: This document does not provide basic instructions for building visualizations; we assume you know how to do that. The purpose of this document is to provide tips for making your visualizations more effective. Below are examples of two visualizations: one that’s good and another that’s great. Why is one good and one great? Simply because the latter visualization helps you understand more about the data—and more quickly. There are many ways to do this. We’ll touch on the different techniques throughout this paper.