How to Choose the Best Visualization for Your Data

April 28, 2023
Justin Lumiere

Data visualization

Data visualization is the art of presenting data in an appealing visual manner that effectively conveys its key information. Visualizations can be used for various purposes, including comparing variables or showing trends over time.

How to Select the Appropriate Visualization for Your Data

There are various approaches for visualizing data, each offering advantages and drawbacks that should be carefully considered when selecting an ideal data visualization method for you and your audience. Finding an optimal visual solution depends on both factors.

No matter if you are creating a static or interactive visualization, it's essential to consider your audience and their desired goals for learning from it. This will guide your data exploration as well as your final visualization creation process.

An unsuccessful visualization will not have an effective impact on its target audience. When creating your visualization, ask yourself, "What information do I want my target audience to understand?" Adding an external perspective may also help ensure your visualization conveys all necessary details.

1) Keep It Simplistic and Clean

When designing a visualization, clarity is of utmost importance. This means keeping the number of variables to an absolute minimum, while making sure any labels or text is easily readable.

2. Select an Appropriate Chart for Data Visualization

There are various charts you can use to visualize your data, such as line graphs, histograms and box plots. While line graphs are an accessible and straightforward option for data display purposes, histograms and box plots offer greater visual analysis potential when there are many categories or clusters to consider.

3. Don't Overuse Color

Although color can be an effective way of drawing attention to specific values or simplifying data interpretation, too much use could create confusion instead of clarity. When choosing a hue for visualizations or audience interpretation, be mindful that overdoing it will create confusion rather than clarify your message.

4. Don't Alter the Aspect Ratio

While certain charts allow you to adjust their aspect ratio disproportionately for better readability, it is crucial that your visualization's aspect ratio remain constant across its canvas. This will prevent it from appearing distorted and misleading and creating inaccurate interpretation of data.

5. Avoid Overly Complex Area Charts

Although including areas in a chart may be beneficial, their size or position must never become unrecognizable to readers - otherwise they risk focusing only on certain parts of it and losing sight of other issues that might exist within.

6. Arrange Your Data Sets

When organizing your data sets, be sure to create separate categories or sub-categories for each group in your data. This will make it easy for you to clearly distinguish what each represents and compare its relative results.

7. Display the Relationship Between Two Variables

A scatter chart can help quickly show if one variable increases as another decreases, or vice versa. It allows you to quickly discern any correlations or divergences in their relationships quickly.

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