You need a better color palette for your Excel charts, but you are a mere mortal and your artistic skills are less than stellar. Hell, you can’t even choose the right tie for a suit! So, what do you do? (hint: watch the video below)
Maybe we could ask Edward Tufte for advice. In Envisioning Information, he writes:
What palette of […]
Templates and defaults are very useful when you are not a subject-matter expert. You don’t have to know much, but if you choose the wrong templates you are on the wrong track.
Cooking is a good example. I don’t know how to cook and, frankly, I don’t want to learn. But my wife is coming late from work, I’m tired […]
It’s very easy to use charts to support false arguments, distortions, omissions or outright lies. But you can use words and statistics too. If you want to deceive nothing will stop you. (Required reading: How To Lie With Charts and How to Lie with Statistics).
Simple lies are often easy to spot and not very interesting. More interesting are our […]
If you want to sell better data visualization practices you can’t use the same approach with everyone. Marketers use archetypes and like to create stories around them like if they were real people. Their marketing messages are then tailored for Jane (archetype #1) or Theresa (archetype #2).
Let’s try this. Allow me to introduce you to three of my […]
You know, I would really love to quit my day job and spend my time learning about information visualization, write about it, help people understand why good information visualization skills are relevant for their business.
Now, I could try to speed up things by selling some crappy affiliate products, fill up the blog with Google ads or use some other […]
Are Excel charts, and Excel in general, a commodity, with no competitive advantage? Only if you want it to. Why? Because a vast majority of users:
Have the data analysis skills of a toddler (or less);
Can’t go beyond chart defaults;
Functions? They know how to click the SUM() button;
Don’t know what a dynamic chart is;
Think pivot tables are too complex;
VBA? No […]
Here are two ways to display a relatively large dataset, montly unemployment rates by state since 1976. The first one, above, is perfect to see the overall patterns, the range from the lowest to the highest, the outliers and the slopes. An interactive version would allow the user to highlight specific series.
A small-multiple version allows the user to focus […]
Human creativity is virtually limitless. But:
You don’t vary color by data point.
You don’t force the eyes to a pendular movement if you can avoid it.
You don’t use a legend when you can use axis labels.
You can’t have a residual category that large.
Bloggers don’t seem to learn, even with a good teacher.
(Bar chart published in the ReadWriteWeb)