Join Bill Shander for an in-depth discussion in this video Picking the right chart, part of Data Visualization for Data Analysts.
- No single short video can teach you what chart to use in every situation. But a lot of people have put thought into guidelines for how to pick the right chart for different types of data. You're not alone trying to figure this out. So one example is Jon Schwabish and Severino Ribecca created this Graphic Continuum, and as you can see, what it's made up of is different categories of data types. So distribution, you want to show distribution of values or values over time or you want to compare things in categories.
These are the types of visualization forms you might use under these circumstances. I can zoom in here. So for instance, how might I show a distribution of data? A histogram might be one the choices available to me. And you're going to see this connector line over here. "A histogram uses columns to represent the distribution of data," it says. And so if I scroll over and down, I can see where that connects over here to this type of visualization, Comparing Categories. It connects to the column chart. So throughout this entire graphic I can see connections between things and it's a really handy reference to pick the right chart form for the right data type.
One of the most important things that I recommend is that you try more than one. Try more than one visualization approach at all times. The other thing I always recommend is to look for inspiration. So I often go to the d3 website. I've shown you this before. And I'll go to the examples page, and if I scroll down here, there are tons of chart examples here. They were all created in d3. And even if I'm not working in d3, it just helps inspire me to pick different chart forms for different data types.
Other sites that I look at are this one: dadaviz, which is an aggregation of data visualizations. A bunch of examples are posted every day here. And another one I look at frequently is visualising.org, again an aggregation of data visualizations. And they have a featured visualization section here, which is updated, I believe, weekly. So a lot of really great inspirational projects on these sites. Sometimes, you can't beat vanilla. Bar charts are vanilla, but they're great. They really work. And other times, your story, what you're trying to show, your data requires something more.
In those cases, pick a visualization approach that matches your data and get inspired.
- Why visual communications matter, and how they work
- Communicating via story
- Communicating with color
- Using legends and sources
- Sketching and wireframing
- Rethinking slides, charts, and diagrams
- Rethinking your templates and brand guidelines