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
Lunch and LearnGraphics Best PracticesAnna Jursik, Lester Shen, and Jenny Edwards, March 13, 2013
Lunch and Learn: Graphics Best PracticesGeneral Principles
Use legends if space is tight Make sure legend order reads in the same order as data, and use color to assistPage 41
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