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Some Principles of Data Visualization
- Determine your audience. What questions will they need answered?
- Choose the right kind of chart (or other visualization) to depict the type of information you have.
- Form follows function. Focus on how your audience needs to use the data, and let that determine the presentation style.
- Provide the necessary context for data to be interpreted and acted upon appropriately.
- Keep it simple. Remove any non-essential information.
- Choose colors carefully to draw attention while also considering accessibility issues such as contrast.
- Seek balance in your visual elements, including texture, color, shape, and negative space.
- Use patterns (of chart types, colors, or other design elements) to identify similar types of information.
- Use proportion carefully so that differences in design size fairly represent differences in value.
- Be skeptical. Ask yourself questions about what data is not represented and what insights might therefore be misinterpreted or missing.