7 Data visualization best practices you simply can’t ignore
Data is available all around us, presenting analysts with immense opportunities. But, if we sit on that pile of information, it would do no good to us. We need to analyze it and present it through dashboards that’ll make the right impact on audiences’ minds. And for that, you must follow certain tested data visualization best practices.
The Data visualization best practices that you must follow
Know the end-users
You can develop the apt dashboard only when you know your viewers. So, ask yourself:
- Who is the end-user? Is it the top-level management, the employees, or customers?
- What are their needs?
- For what information will they refer to the dashboard?
- And finally, what is it that you want to communicate to them?
Understand your data
To prepare effective dashboards, you will need to understand the dataset. Once you spend some time with the data, you will realize how to organize it, what analysis you can derive from it, and the best visuals to use for the presentation.
Furthermore, it helps you in telling compelling stories by placing the visuals in the correct sequence.
Keep dashboards simple
Formatting is a vital pillar of data visualization. But, you shouldn’t go overboard with images, backgrounds, colors, borders, etc. Content and formatting should be adequately divided to make the dashboards impactful. Use small texts, but never compromise on the quality of data. For instance, if you want to highlight a metric in the financial report, never use red. At first glance, users’ will get an incorrect impression, as red is used for showing a financial loss.
Your dashboards represent your company. So, try to keep it in sync with your brand image. And once that’s done, maintain consistency throughout the report. Human eyes look for patterns. So, as good data visualization best practices, use standardized colors, designs, fonts, navigations, etc., when demonstrating a specific type of information.
Follow report standards
BI tools come with high-end data visualization abilities and loads of visualization options. But, it’s essential to stick to basic reporting standards. Some of them are:
- Always use labels and titles
- Keep your language crisp and simple
- Use standard scaling
- Arrange data correctly
Your visuals should speak before you. So, try avoiding too much information in one visual or stuffing one report with too many charts and graphs. Instead, segregate your data in small and compelling visuals – it’ll help you explain your data better.
Stick to designing principle
KISS, i.e., Keep It Simple Stupid, is a designing principle, which means design your visuals for a novice. Use colors and elements which are relevant, and avoid complicated graphs until necessary.
To sum up the above data visualization best practices – always remember, “Simplicity is a virtue.” And a DataViz expert’s role is to break down complex information in easy-to-understand visuals.