If you want to make sense of your data you need at least some rudimentary data visualization skills. By “data visualization skills” I don’t mean “to be able to make a chart in Excel”. You must have a deeper understanding of what charts should be used and when, why some many formatting options serve a functional purpose (not an aesthetic one) and even be able to decide that a chart, any chart, is not the best tool in a specific context.
I don’t have a well-rounded data visualization theory. Some general principles seem obvious to me, and from there you can derive a set of “best practices”. But, given the low level of graphic literacy among managers and business users, I am not sure if a radical change (removing pie charts, for example) is the best option.
- 14 Misconceptions About Charts and Graphs
- Information visualization: frequently asked questions
- Is Data Visualization Useful? You’ll Have to Prove It.
- Information Visualization Is a Jigsaw Puzzle
- Will Traditional Charts Survive?
- Design and information visualization: two worlds apart
- Fibonacci, working memory and information overload
- Is Your Chart Really Answering Your Question?
- You want answers, but do you have questions?
- Animation and demographic information visualization
- Data Visualization: Who Needs a Reality Check?
- Design principles for better charts: simplicity
- Design principles for better charts: relevance
- Cooking Better Charts