Visualization: How to choose the right graphic
Displaying research results in a visual format adds impact and brings clarity where words often fail. Whether you’re creating an annual report, executive summary, or a presentation for your CEO, charts, graphs, and maps provide analysis and help readers understand and remember the information you deliver.
When I lead workshops on information visualization (it’s not just for data), one of the first questions people ask is, “Where do I start?” When faced with all the different types of graphics, choosing the right one can be a challenge.
To help with getting over this obstacle, I created – what else? – a visual tool for deciding whether a bar chart, scatter chart, or data map will best convey your message. I’ve recently updated this process map, and you can download it here.
To learn more about the different types of charts and graphs and how to best convey your message, I recommend these two books:
- Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten, Stephen Few
- Say it with Charts: The Executive’s Guide to Visual Communication, Gene Zelazny
What are your favorite resources for selecting and designing visual formats?