Tips to Instantly Improve Your Data Visualisation Design

Mavis LohUncategorized

What’s the point of having done up a good Data Science analysis when these are not effectively translated to your leaders? Thus, as much as it is important to have good Data Science habits, you should also leverage on the power of Data Visualisation to get your ideas across! Your brain is prewired to process visual content much quicker than numbers and texts. Therefore, data design is so effective. By “seeing” the data, it is easier for your brain to intake, synthesise, and retain the information presented. So, here are a few tips you that will help you kick your Data Visualisations up a notch.

Tell the whole story

Maybe you had a 30% sales increase in Q4. Woohoo, this is great news to communicate! But what’s going to excite your audience more? You should show that you’ve actually had a 100% sales increase since Q1. Or consider doing a year-on-year comparison with the last Q4.

Choose the chart that tells the story

There are a thousand and one ways to visualise data. So, you want to understand the objective of the result. Ask yourself, what do you want to communicate, or what does your audience want to takeaway from your chart. This will guide you along what types of chart to use. For example, if you’re trying to share the gender contribution to your sales, you’d want to adopt a pie chart. Similarly, if you want to show the sales number, you’d pick a bar graph.

Keeping it simple

Simplicity is the key to success. You don’t want to confuse or overload your audience with massive amounts of information. There’s no need to get clever or verbose. Focus on the quickest path to comprehension. Keep any descriptive text above, or beside the chart brief and related to the chart. Ask yourself, “Is this information relevant to what I’m showing in my chart?”

Same goes for your labels. If the precise value of a data point is important to tell your story, then include data labels to enhance comprehension. If the precise values are not important to tell your story, leave the data labels out.

Additionally, you want to avoid patterns used on your chart(s). Stripes and polka dots sound fun, but they can be incredibly distracting. If you are trying to differentiate, say, on a map, use different saturations of the same solid-colour.

Remove anything that doesn’t support the story

Don’t get us wrong, we don’t mean leaving out half the data points. Instead, avoid chart junk, extra copy, unnecessary illustrations and drop shadows. This includes those pesky 3D charts that you might think looks “good” as they can skew the perception of visualisation. Let your data visualisation do most of the heavy lifting to enhance and communicate the story!

Order your data intuitively and evenly

There should be a logical hierarchy. So, you want to order your charts alphabetically, sequentially, or by value. When it comes to your axes, use natural or intuitive increments like 5s, 10s, 100s or by the thousands instead of awkward or uneven increments (0, 3, 5, 16, 50).