DataViz Tip #13: Switch To Horizontal Bar Chart When Labels Don’t Fit

A column chart is classic – it’s understood by everyone, easy to comprehend and compare values. However, when you have more than a few columns and not that much space its readability breaks down a bit: There are several ways to resolve this: you can show every other label and force users to interact with […]

DataViz Tip #12: Show Up to Four Lines in a Line Chart

A good rule of thumb is to limit the number of lines shown in a line chart to 3 or 4. Above that the picture gets messy quite fast: When you need to show more than 3-4 lines consider using a different chart type or a panel of “micro charts” instead. Having said that, when […]

DataViz Tip #11: Augment Your Data for Better Visualizations

The data you have is straight to the point most of the times. When you have revenue numbers it’s usually just that. If you want to present the data as revenue-per-employee you have to transform your data to serve your vision. It’s all good while you have all the data that you need. But what […]

DataViz Tip #10: Verify Your Data

“Unlike a misspelled word in a story, one wrong number discredits the whole chart.” ~ Dona M. Wong “The WSJ Guide to Information Graphics” Sometimes you discover a wild outlier in your data when you visualize it. In some cases, this may be a valuable insight, but more often than not it’s just a side-effect […]

DataViz Tip #9: Learn the Basics of Statistics

In the previous tips, we’ve discussed that transforming your data can often expose the information in a new light and provide new insights to the person analyzing your visualization. Aggregating atomic data points into aggregates for periods is a powerful tool in helping users make more sense of the data. But the way you aggregate […]

DataViz Tip #8: Do Not Expose Your Private Data

If you are used to creating charts in Excel, server-side libraries or other desktop software that produces static images, you may be comfortable with taking your private (often confidential) data and creating visualizations straight from it. After all, you control that end-users only see percentages or other aggregate values. On the other hand, when your […]

DataViz Tip #7: Tools to Transform Data

Last week we have shown that transforming our data can help us create different and, likely, better visualizations. Let’s cover some tools that can help us in the process… Pivot Tables Pivot Tables is a great feature that lets you slice and dice the data you have in your spreadsheet. In Microsoft’s own words: PivotTables […]

DataViz Tip #6: Transform and “Massage” Your Data

The data you store and get back is often the most granular – that’s always great to have but not necessarily the best data to expose to users and comprehend. Suppose you have data for daily site visitors, page views and sales. You can expose all of this data as is in 3 line graphs […]

DataViz Tip #5: Sketch and Prototype Your Charts Before Coding

After seeing beautiful amCharts demos, you may have an urge to drop straight into your code editor and start coding. While sometimes you know precisely what chart represents your data best, other times it may not be as obvious. While developing a visualization¬†with amCharts is easy, it is still more work than doing a quick […]

DataViz Tip #4: What Would Viewers Tweet About Your Chart?

An excellent way to start thinking about your visualization is to ask yourself “what would I want my viewers to tweet about this chart?” Consider this chart of visits to a fictional website: What would someone tweet after looking at this chart? Maybe something like “Most visits to the website come from the USA, followed […]