Lunch and LearnGraphics Best PracticesAnna Jursik, Lester Shen, and Jenny Edwards, March 13, 2013
Lunch and Learn: Graphics Best PracticesGeneral Principles
Consider the audiencePage 3
Establish hierarchyPage 4
Stick with established patternsPage 5
Minimize “chartjunk”    Minimize “chartjunk”Page 6
What is the “smallest effective difference”?    Find the smallest effective differencePage 7
Account for a multivariate worldPage 8
Post hoc ergo propter hocPage 9                          Courtesy of Michael Blasnik
Lunch and Learn: Graphics Best PracticesDisplaying Numbers
Averages    + Mean    + Median    + ModePage 11
AveragesPage 12
AveragesPage 13
AveragesPage 14
SignificancePage 15
SignificancePage 16
Consistent ScalesPage 17
Consistent ScalesPage 18
Consistent ScalesPage 19
Reading in City Schools – 2nd GradePage 20
Full axisPage 21
Error barsPage 22
Error barsPage 23
Show Me the DataPage 24
Show Me the DataPage 25
Chart Types, Color,and Formatting
What type of chart to use?    What Type of Chart to Use?    + Line Chart: Show TrendsPage 27
What type of chart to use?    What Type of Chart to Use?    + Column or Bar: Discrete Repeating UnitsPage 28
What type of chart to use?    What Type of Chart to Use?    + Pie Chart: Emphasize A single value, or      extremes (Large...
Page 30
Page 31
Page 32
Better choice: Radial TreemapPage 33
Legends are overusedPage 34
Page 35
200                                       Peak at                                                    172 Days          180...
Page 37
Page 38
Page 39
Page 40
Use legends if space is tight          Make sure legend order reads in the same order as data, and use          color to a...
General Color and Format Rules:          Don’t overuse: maintain smallest effective difference          Use color and fo...
Page 43
US Injuries + Fatalities per Billion Passenger-Miles    (2002-2004)Page 44
Page 45
Portland’s Transportation Carbon FootprintPage 46
Page 47
Page 48
Page 49
14          12          10          8          6          4          2          0               1   2   3   4Page 50
Page 51
Color-Blind ConsiderationsPage 52
Use tick marks when you want to show    discrete measurementsPage 53
Page 54
Page 55
Page 56
Create a logical orderPage 57
Page 58
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Graphics Best Practices

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  • graphics are a communication tool, not ornamental organize and communicate key informationIf you use them effectively, you’ll tell the story you want to tell to your audience If you use them ineffectively, you could distract actually distract from the data
  • Can’t assume they have the same level of knowledge, interest, or commitment as youGraphics should make it easier for the audience to understand and take interest in the data or information
  • eyes are drawn to big and bold and brightnon-linear: bounce around, can't assumethe viewer will look through everything in orderProvide handholds but do include all the data for curious/nit picky audience members
  • stick w/established symbols and conventionsrepetition: look for patterns we've learned maps: symbols consistent; capitol cities star, cities bold, lakes and rivers blue, interstates red
  • Think about how
  • Huge amounts of data, limited amount of spacePaper is two-dimensional, so
  • “after this, therefore because of this”Correlation not causationFalse causationCoincidental causation
  • Mean – arithmetic mean, standard average – the sum of all measurements divided by the number of observations in the datasetMedian – middle value, half the population is above and half is belowMode – most likely value
  • Median income ~$50kMode $15k-$20k
  • Careful with Pie charts: Too hard to follow
  • More acceptable even with a lot of categories. Because color is used well, labeled. They start with the largest value and go around clockwise. But the major take away message will be that TV is big.
  • Too hard to interpret, label all the values. (Radial as treemap)
  • They make your reader do extra work, and they cant focus on the trends when eyes dart back and forth
  • Don’t use legend if you are plotting the same values
  • Here, there are multiple labels, so a simple legend is good.
  • Many Errors here:Don’t use 3-dUse ascending colorsDon’t need graphicDon’t need decimal
  • Use of 3-d Do we need both dimensions?
  • Use color to distinguish time; use recognizable colors if they apply
  • In this case color shows geography
  • Use tick marks , minimize grid lines, but horizontal ones are helpful. Most helpful for lines (to show trends)
  • Numbering when it isnt too much data.
  • Use shading bars
  • Use shading bars. Also don’t be afraid to grey out a lot of things.
  • Using trend lines
  • Graphics Best Practices

    1. 1. Lunch and LearnGraphics Best PracticesAnna Jursik, Lester Shen, and Jenny Edwards, March 13, 2013
    2. 2. Lunch and Learn: Graphics Best PracticesGeneral Principles
    3. 3. Consider the audiencePage 3
    4. 4. Establish hierarchyPage 4
    5. 5. Stick with established patternsPage 5
    6. 6. Minimize “chartjunk” Minimize “chartjunk”Page 6
    7. 7. What is the “smallest effective difference”? Find the smallest effective differencePage 7
    8. 8. Account for a multivariate worldPage 8
    9. 9. Post hoc ergo propter hocPage 9 Courtesy of Michael Blasnik
    10. 10. Lunch and Learn: Graphics Best PracticesDisplaying Numbers
    11. 11. Averages + Mean + Median + ModePage 11
    12. 12. AveragesPage 12
    13. 13. AveragesPage 13
    14. 14. AveragesPage 14
    15. 15. SignificancePage 15
    16. 16. SignificancePage 16
    17. 17. Consistent ScalesPage 17
    18. 18. Consistent ScalesPage 18
    19. 19. Consistent ScalesPage 19
    20. 20. Reading in City Schools – 2nd GradePage 20
    21. 21. Full axisPage 21
    22. 22. Error barsPage 22
    23. 23. Error barsPage 23
    24. 24. Show Me the DataPage 24
    25. 25. Show Me the DataPage 25
    26. 26. Chart Types, Color,and Formatting
    27. 27. What type of chart to use? What Type of Chart to Use? + Line Chart: Show TrendsPage 27
    28. 28. What type of chart to use? What Type of Chart to Use? + Column or Bar: Discrete Repeating UnitsPage 28
    29. 29. What type of chart to use? What Type of Chart to Use? + Pie Chart: Emphasize A single value, or extremes (Large or Small Values)Page 29
    30. 30. Page 30
    31. 31. Page 31
    32. 32. Page 32
    33. 33. Better choice: Radial TreemapPage 33
    34. 34. Legends are overusedPage 34
    35. 35. Page 35
    36. 36. 200 Peak at 172 Days 180 Condos 160 140 120 100 80 60 Single Family 40 20 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13Page 36
    37. 37. Page 37
    38. 38. Page 38
    39. 39. Page 39
    40. 40. Page 40
    41. 41. Use legends if space is tight Make sure legend order reads in the same order as data, and use color to assistPage 41
    42. 42. General Color and Format Rules: Don’t overuse: maintain smallest effective difference Use color and formatting to group similar types, to show scale or trends Reserve different formatting dimensions to highlight what you care aboutPage 42
    43. 43. Page 43
    44. 44. US Injuries + Fatalities per Billion Passenger-Miles (2002-2004)Page 44
    45. 45. Page 45
    46. 46. Portland’s Transportation Carbon FootprintPage 46
    47. 47. Page 47
    48. 48. Page 48
    49. 49. Page 49
    50. 50. 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 1 2 3 4Page 50
    51. 51. Page 51
    52. 52. Color-Blind ConsiderationsPage 52
    53. 53. Use tick marks when you want to show discrete measurementsPage 53
    54. 54. Page 54
    55. 55. Page 55
    56. 56. Page 56
    57. 57. Create a logical orderPage 57
    58. 58. Page 58
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