Cloudy with a Chance of… Pizza?
Imagine someone tells you it’s going to rain. You look up at a cloud covered sky, shrug, and think “Sure, it looks cloudy, there’s a chance”. But that’s not enough, you have questions, you want specifics. You look up again and notice a patch of darker color clouds to the north, BINGO. That’s your answer.
Data is more than just facts. It can be creative, colorful, inspirational, and even emotional. Data can tell a story if used correctly, and what better way to tell a story than with a picture. I wouldn’t say that there is ONE process to follow when creating a visualization, that would be boring. However, there are some good practices that can be used when trying to communicate certain chapters of your story.
Know your audience
You wouldn’t read a novel to a child and you wouldn’t talk about pizza at the gym. Know what questions your audience has and create a visualization that answers those questions in a manner they can digest.
The right type of visual
If you are comparing the population between Arizona, California, and Oregon, a good choice would be a bar chart. If you are curious about weather trends for these three states during the summer months, you could use a line chart. Maybe you want to show the composition of iPhone users vs. Android users in those three states, a stacked column chart would do the job here.
Colors make it pop
Consider using intuitive colors (green/red to convey good/bad). If you have a chart that contains categories (types of fruits), consider using colors to represent each category. But be mindful of the amount of colors used, 7 is a lucky number.
Get creative and inspire
This is where the real fun starts. Rather than explaining, I will share two of my favorite visualization presentations.
Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo
The beauty of data visualization – David McCandless: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Zg-C8AAIGg
By: Monica Kay Royal