Visualizing Data

There are so many beautiful ways to look at data, and the best of them paint a picture the numbers alone might not show so readily. From classics such as Snow’s cholera map or Minard’s Napoleon map, to your basic spreadsheet charts, entire specialties are devoted to depicting information in a useful way. So what can you do? If you are making charts from your data, make them better. If you are the consumer, demand better. And what should you demand? Start with clear labels, appropriate scales, and most importantly, a simplicity that doesn’t make you have to sit there and study the graphic to understand it. If your consultant or in-house analyst has to explain anything about a chart to you, they have failed at effectively visualizing data and information. So start simple, and don’t be afraid to be basic. In this case, it’s a good thing!

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