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Data Visualization Guide

This guide is intended to provide a starting point for learning about data visualization.

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.

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