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Don’t Make me Think (About Your Charts)!

I’d love to make my broken English more Tufte-compliant. I’d love to make the design of ExcelCharts.com more Tufte-compliant. I’d love to make my home office, my lifestyle, my… you’ve got the point. It should be easy: here is a framework I am comfortable with, now I just need to translate it. It isn’t. I’m not alone: bloggers-about-blogging can’t […]

By |February 9th, 2011|Design|0 Comments|

Creating More Effective Graphs [Book Review]

If you are a graphic designer you already know too much about beauty and aesthetics. If you want to play with data it’s time to grow up and learn some real graphs. I mean it. And I have the ideal book you: Creating More Effective Graphs, by Naomi B. Robbins.
First Impressions

Color: No color;
Fancy graphs: None;
Book cover: an […]

Data Visualization Hierarchy of Needs

Is it possible to create a “data visualization hierarchy of needs” like Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs? I’ve tried that in the pyramid above. Here are the details:

Is it the right Medium? A chart can really help processing data and minimize information overload, but what about “chart overload”? Don’t make a chart if you don’t need one, and make […]

By |January 24th, 2011|Design|11 Comments|

Excel Dashboards: Who Needs Them, Anyway?

You are not happy at work. I can clearly see that. Morale is low due to the economy, but it’s something else, isn’t it? You feel handcuffed. You keep hitting a wall. It hurts, hitting a wall while handcuffed…

You work with data. There is a formal BI tool in your organization, but it is unusable (IT is proud of […]

By |December 13th, 2010|Dashboards|35 Comments|

Anatomy of a Bad Chart

We often learn a lot more from bad examples than from the good ones. So, here is a really bad one (you can find many examples like this in corporate annual reports…). So, what’s wrong here?
What do they want to say?
If you don’t know what to say, you probably should keep your mouth shut. Are we supposed to compare […]

By |November 30th, 2010|Design|6 Comments|

Consistent dashboard design: write a simple sentence

You know that you should avoid the Crystal Xcelsius dashboard style, but now what? Where do you place your charts, kpi, tables?

Here is a trick that you can use: write a sentence or a paragraph that summarizes the core message. For example “Our sales are growing in an expanding market, and we are gaining market share, specially in these […]

By |November 29th, 2010|Dashboards|1 Comment|

In London for the Tableau 6.0 Tour (Part II)

My life sucks.

Here I am, getting old by the minute, reinventing the wheel every single day, forcing tools to do things they don’t want to do, too busy with the boring details and forgetting the whole picture hidden behind them.

Yes, my life sucks. Oh, how I envy that guy over there! He chose the right tool. The nitty-gritty? No […]

In London, for the Tableau Tour

I’ll be in London tomorrow, November 16, for the Tableau 6.0 Tour. This is my first trip to London in many years and I hope this is also the starting point of a much closer relationship with Tableau.

I believe that you can’t improve the way people display data visually if:

you tell/show them things that they can’t relate to;
require […]

Excel Game Changers

You can learn a lot from an expert, but a game changer challenges your believes and assumptions and, at some point, that’s exactly what you need to move forward. Creative destruction. I love it.

Let me tell you about three of my personal Excel game changers.
Jon Peltier
Well, I don’t have to tell you about Jon, everyone knows him. He’s […]

Alphabetical Sorting Must Die

If you follow Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, you know I’m shamelessly stealing this post title from him. He says that most of the time a list is sorted alphabetically because a) it’s easier to find a name and b) designers are lazy and don’t want to bother finding a better sorting key. While he writes from a design and […]

By |October 26th, 2010|Design|4 Comments|