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Data Visualization Best Practices

Data visualization is part of the analytical process—and a discipline unto itself, with a thriving community full of opinions on the best way to communicate data. From the pros and cons of pie charts to y-axis debates, here's advice from the most experienced data visualization practitioners around.

National Parks Palettes

Want to make your next data viz feel a little outdoorsy? Check out this R package of palettes inspired magnificent splendor of the U.S.‘s national parks.-Kevin S. Blake

The Thought Process Behind Creating a Chart

In this Twitter thread, a chart-maker breaks down their data viz choices and highlights an important question to ask: 'What do you want the message of your graph to be?'-Colin Angus

The Three Mental Models Model for Data Visualization

Every visualization has at least three mental models at play: a model of the visualization, of the data, and of the world.-FILWD

Who’s Behind the Numbers? A Conversation with Hassan Kibirige, Creator of Plotnine

This interview digs into how Hassan became interested in tech and how and why he built the Python visualization library Plotnine.-Mode Blog

The Biggest Misconception in Data Visualization

Instead of designing charts that help us “best visualize the data,” we should create charts that best answer a specific question or that best communicate a specific insight about the data.-Practical Reporting

What Is a Spider Chart?

A nice deep dive into a chart type to try the next time you need to display data across several unique dimensions.-Storytelling With Data

Python Data Visualization Libraries for Business Analytics

While many of these libraries are intensely focused on accomplishing a specific task, some can be used no matter what your field.-Mode Blog

Resources for Data Viz Accessibility

A selection of general and R-specific resources on how and why to make accessible data visualizations.-Silvia Canelón

BBC Visual and Data Journalism Cookbook for R Graphics

Have you always admired the BBC’s graphics and wanted to snag their style for your own charts? Now you can!-BBC Open Source

In Defense of Simple Charts

“Nonstandard” charts are exciting and flashy, but a simple bar chart or line graph can communicate multitudes, especially when they’re well designed and highlighting interesting data.-Datawrapper

Why You Sometimes Need to Break the Rules in Data Viz

This post walks through five commonly-held beliefs about data viz and shows situations where it might make sense to go against the grain.-The Economist

Visualizing Distributions With Raincloud Plots With ggplot2

Why boxplots can be problematic, how to improve them, and alternative approaches that can be used to show both summary statistics as well as the true distribution of the raw data.-Cédric Scherer

We're The Economist's Data Team. Ask Us Anything!

There are a lot of great answers in here, providing an inside look at what it’s like to be a data journalist.-r/dataisbeautiful

Common Data Visualization Mistakes

A beginners' guide on how to avoid pitfalls and not be fooled by others’ errors.-Anastasia Komissarova


This R package offers the flexibility to make streamgraphs in ggplot. Get to it!-David Sjoberg


This open-source inclusive auditing system is an excellent toolkit for making accessible data visualizations.-Chartability

Why Do I Use Flowers to Visualise Data?

Flowers can be excellent vehicles for conveying information because their petals, stalks, and stamens can represent many dimensions in just one object.-Questions in Dataviz

A ggplot2 Tutorial for Beautiful Plotting in R

Bookmark this immediately. You may never need another ggplot2 tutorial ever again.-Cedric Scherer

Have We All Become Dashboard Junkies?

For many of us in this pandemic, dashboards are the main way we gauge the virus’s reach and impact. When you’re building such a dashboard, here are a few simple guidelines to place user’s needs first.-UNICEF: Evidence for Action

Navigating the Wide World of Data Visualization Libraries

Everyone’s heard of D3. What about the other ones?-Nightingale

You're Using Data Markers? That's Bold

Data markers in charts serve the same role as boldface does in text. And when everything seems to be emphasized, nothing is emphasized.-storytelling with data

Making Internet Things, Part 3: Storytelling

The final installment in an epic how-to series for creating data-driven, visual stories.-The Pudding

Surfacing Visualization Mirages

When looking at a visualization, is what we see really what we get? This post analyzes the ways visualizations can mislead us and provides a testing strategy for identifying them.-Multiple Views: Visualization Research Explained

Writing Alt Text for Data Visualization

When charts have no alt text, a whole swath of people miss out on content that is necessary, just because it’s visual. This is a handy guide for making your data viz accessible to all.-Nightingale

The Evolution of a ggplot

This step-by-step tutorial will teach you how to transform a default ggplot into a prettier, more easily understandable plot.-Cédric Scherer

Pixelate to Communicate: Visualising Uncertainty in Maps of Disease Risk and Other Spatial Continua

Varying pixelation is a powerful tool for showing point estimates and uncertainty estimates in a single plot or map— especially disease maps.-arXiv

Uncertainty Visualization

“We detail new visualization methods and emerging cognitive theories that describe how we reason with visual representations of uncertainty. We describe the best practices in uncertainty visualization and the psychology behind how each approach supports viewers’ judgments.”-SPACE Lab at UC Merced

Dataviz and the 20th Anniversary of R, an Interview With Hadley Wickham

The R community’s biggest celebrity discusses the impact of R over the last two decades, and the past, present, and future of data visualization in R.-Nightingale

Make Model Diagrams, Kruschke Style

It’s hard to go a day without seeing some sort of curve visualization. Here’s how to make model diagrams with the tidyverse and patchwork packages.-A. Solomon Kurz

Thirteen Things to Visualize About COVID-19 Besides Case Loads

While confirmed cases and deaths related to the coronavirus attract a lot of attention, there are many other aspects of COVID-19’s impact that are worth measuring: for starters, environmental factors, how we eat, and internet infrastructure.-Nightingale

Ten Considerations Before You Create Another Chart About COVID-19

“[T]he stakes are high around how we communicate about this epidemic to the wider public. Visualizations are powerful for communicating information, but can also mislead, misinform, and—in the worst cases—incite panic.”-Nightingale

Interactive Data Visualization in Python With Bokeh

Bokeh renders its graphics using HTML and JavaScript, making it a great candidate for a Pythonista looking to build web-based dashboards and applications.-Real Python


Make sense of spaghetti plots (and the longitudinal data they represent) with this R package.-Credibly Curious

What Board Games Teach Us About Data Visualization

“[A]t their core, all board games are data visualizations. Data and information are visualized as pieces of different colors and shapes (called meeples) placed on boards specifying coordinate systems. The rules of the game determine how the current situation of the data can be transformed into a more desirable state.”-Nightingale

Pros and Cons of Chart Taxonomies

Chart taxonomies provide a jumping off point, but they having a list of pre-selected options could stifle innovation in data viz design.-Nightingale


This talk from a Senior Data Visualization Engineer at Netflix covers the role of data visualization abstractions and the importance of creating landmarks between layers of abstraction in data visualization. (And uses a Pokémon example!)-Susie Lu

2019 Annual Data Visualization Survey Results

The take away? Data viz practitioners all need more time to create, learn about, and explore data viz.-Nightingale

4 Observations on Animating Your Data Visualizations

“There are certainly limits to what we can expect users to hold onto as they view our animations or sets of small multiples, but such animation gives us the opportunity to create more engaging, detailed content.”-Data@Urban

How We See Our Data: Vision Science and Visualization

How our brains interpret data is still poorly understood. Theories from vision science give us a way to interrogate existing design guidelines, and prove or disprove them.-Multiple Views

Beyond Nightingale: Being a Woman in Data Visualization

“Even today, where the data visualization field is large and international, cis white men still dominate, through both hidden and overt ways.”-Nightingale


R users: check out this broad toolbox for selecting individual colors or color palettes, manipulating colors, and employing them in various kinds of visualizations.-Colorspace

Interactive Charts with D3.js

These days, the web browser offers a whole new realm of possibilities for visualizing data. Harness them to take your chart to the next level.-Amelia Wattenberger

R Interace to nomnoml

Now you can create flowcharts in R Markdown!-Javier Luraschi

Uncertainty + Visualization, Explained

What do we mean when we talk about uncertainty in data viz? And what techniques can we employ to communicate uncertainty effectively?-Multiple Views

Fullstack D3 and Data Visualization

D3 can be tricky to pick up. With runnable code and explanations of data visualization principles, this book will have you creating a MVP chart by the end of the first chapter.-Amelia Wattenberger

The Reason I Am Using Altair for Most of My Visualization in Python

“At first, I was skeptical of using a wrapper of another library as my main visualization tool. Wrappers are often a bad idea. But Altair is different.”-Fernando Irarrázaval

Techniques for Data Visualization on Both Mobile & Desktop

Making a visualization work on mobile and desktop can be a chore. Here's an array of options for when you get stuck.-Nadieh Bremer

Nadieh Bremer, the Data Explorer: Numbers Are Much More Rational than Humans

A great read for anyone who's considering becoming a data viz freelancer.-Amsterdam JSNation

Mistakes, We’ve Drawn a Few

A visual data journalist at The Economist shares their more serious crimes against data visualization over the last few years—and how she'd fix them.-The Economist

Meet Amanda Cox, Who Brings Life to Data on Our Pages

If you admire The New York Times' visualizations, check out this profile of one of The Upshot's founding members.-The New York Times

On Giving and Receiving Critique in DataViz Communities

In a world where it's easy to drag someone's work through the mud without second thought, this is a refreshing take on how to give empathetic feedback.-Data Remixed

Consistently Beautiful Visualizations with Altair Themes

Altair is a declarative statistical visualization library for Python. This tutorial covers how to create a data viz style guide that you can apply across all your charts.-Towards Data Science

Resources on Visualizing Uncertainty

This Google Sheet houses a bevy of talks, blog posts, and research papers on communicating uncertainty in data viz. Add any resources that are missing!-Enrico Bertini

Adding Context to Your Analysis with Annotations

While it’s not the most thrilling task for a data team, keeping a record of the online and offline events that affect your business is a practice that is well worth the small time investment. Here are three ideas for integrating annotations into your workflow.-Locally Optimistic

W. E. B. Du Bois’ staggering Data Visualizations are as powerful today as they were in 1900

Du Bois’ legacy is cemented in American history, but his data visualizations remain relatively unknown. Explore how his charts paint a complex picture of African Americans, their struggle, and perseverance despite more than a century of slavery.-Towards Data Science

12 extensions to ggplot2 for more powerful R visualizations

Ever find yourself looking for additional bells and whistles to amp up ggplot2’s functionality? Start with these extension packages. - Mode “Overall, 255,000 Americans 85 years old or older were working over the past 12 months. That’s 4.4 percent of Americans that age, up from 2.6 percent in 2006, before the recession.”-Wonkblog

2018 Data Visualization Survey Results

One interesting result: data viz practitioners wish they were spending more time focusing on “design” than they do currently.-Elijah Meeks

9 Useful R Data Visualization Libraries for Any Discipline

With over 12,000 packages listed in R’s official repository, CRAN, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we compiled a list of our 9 favorite data viz packages.-Mode

LaCroixColoR - LaCroix Color Palettes for R

“Choose from 20 different LaCroix flavors—quench your thirst!”-johannesbjork

Multiple Perspectives on the Multiple Comparisons Problem in Visual Analysis

This post digs into a recent study of the Multiple Comparisons Problem—the more visual comparisons an analyst makes, the more likely they are to find spurious patterns.-UW Interactive Data Lab

Don’t compare percentage change on a linear scale; use a log scale

These CHI 2018 presentations highlight how visual design choices can cause harm—like the subtle, manipulative power of chart titles.-eagereyes

Seven Visualization Talks That Terrified Me At CHI

Try swapping the linear for log scale the time you make a chart that shows change over time or compares percentage change.-Mike Bostock

How to get data in the right format with pivot tables

In addition to showing you how to create a pivot table, this post does a great job of explaining why and when you’d want to use long and wide formats.-Uncharted

Viz Palette

“Born out of a frustration with picking colors for data visualizations, this project is optimized for tweaking, copying, and pasting in and out of JavaScript.”-Elijah Meeks and Susie Lu

The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete

Don’t get misled by the title. At its core, this essay is an exploration of the influence of data science on academic papers—specifically the growth of Jupyter notebooks.-The Atlantic

What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Data Visualization

Map-based strategy games like Hearts of Iron or Civilization are inspiration goldmines.-Elijah Meeks

Histograms and Density Plots in Python

This gem of an essay clearly describes how data science should work: strive to make your analysis reproducible, accurate, and collaborative, and conduct blameless postmortems to course correct when something goes wrong.-PeerJ Preprints

Styling Analysis with Python

You don’t need to create the Mona Lisa of data visualizations for your audience to understand your analysis. These functions are like spice in a dish; a little goes a long way.-Mode

Visualizing Outliers

Real data ain't perfect. Outliers abound. Come prepared with an arsenal of options for how to visualize them.-FlowingData

I wrote some code that automatically checks visualizations for non-colorblind safe colors. Here’s how it works

Gregor Aisch unpacks the code behind a new Datawrapper feature that makes your charts color-blind friendly.-vis4.net

Visualizing Incomplete and Missing Data

The next time you’re handed a messy dataset (probably tomorrow), consider exploring and exposing those gaps, rather than ignoring them.-FlowingData

Data visualization tools drive interactivity and reproducibility in online publishing

Great ideas in here for how journals can use tools like Shiny, Plotly, and Altair to publish accessible and accountable research.-Nature

How We Made Our School Segregation Interactive

Alvin Chang—a graphics reporter for Vox—shares the design and design decisions behind a piece that helps people to figure out whether their school district perpetuates segregation.-Source

Taking Word Clouds Apart: Alternative Designs for Word Clouds and Some Research-Based Guidelines

Whether you love word clouds or love to hate them, check out this study. Turns out some word cloud designs are better for certain tasks—like comparing values and identifying topics—than others.-Enrico Bertini

The Python Graph Gallery

What bl.ocks.org does for D3.js, this gallery does for Python. Explore visualizations you can build using matplotlib, Seaborn, and pandas, all with reproducible code.-The Python Graph Gallery

AMA: Andy Kirk, Data Visualization Freelancer

Some of our favorite responses: advice for aspiring sports analysts and tips for promoting better visualization practices in a large organization resistant to change.-r/dataisbeautiful

Communicating Uncertainty When Lives Are on the Line

“Showing when and where natural disasters like hurricanes are going to cause damage is not just a question of aesthetics – it is literally a matter of life and death. The traditional way hurricane forecasts are shown has a number of problems, but are the alternatives actually better?”-eagereyes

Designing better tables for enterprise applications

Many table designs work in theory, but they break when they meet real-world workflows, large datasets, and domain specific user-types. Keep an eye out for these common pitfalls.-uxdesign.cc

Explaining the Gap: Visualizing One’s Predictions Improves Recall and Comprehension of Data

Something to take into consideration for your next data viz design: this study found that asking people to predict the trend of a line on a chart helps them to better remember the data in the long-run.-UW Interactive Data Lab

What’s so hard about histograms?

You’ll never again accept the default bin sizes in a visualization tool once you’ve explored this interactive guide to all the decisions that go into building a histogram.-Aran Lunzer & Amelia McNamara

Joy Plots

Check out this new R package for a new chart type: joy plots. They’ll come in handy for those who want to vertically stack distributions and have an aversion to violin plots.-eagereyes

How to spot a misleading graph

This is a great video to share with your friends and colleagues who are a little less data savvy. It shows how “cherry picking” data, manipulating axes, and leaving out contextual information can warp a chart’s message.-TED-Ed

One set of data, many stories

“Or, why a dual y-axis chart is not a normalized delta chart.”-Zan Armstrong

How Histograms Work

Seeing distributions is way more interesting than means and medians, which oftentimes overgeneralize. But a lot of people don’t understand what a histogram shows or how it works.-FlowingData

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to d3.js

Intimidated by the long list of functions in d3’s API documentation? Paralyzed by choosing from dozens of d3 tutorials? Start here.-Ian Johnson

Visualizing uncertainty in housing data

The data visualization field doesn't agree yet on the best way to visualize uncertainty, but these three charts are a great place to start.-Len Kiefer

The Eurosearch Song Contest

A data journalist shares his design process for a Google News Lab visualization project.-Maarten Lambrechts

Data Visualization “Versus” UI and Data Science

Another perspective on the claim that data visualization professionals “end up transitioning into data sci/eng or UI”—from someone who started out in UI and transitioned to data viz.-Lynn Cherny

When the Designer Shows Up In the Design

How our biases influence what data gets collected, selected, and visualized.-ProPublica

The superpower of interactive datavis? A micro-macro view!

Another entry in the ongoing conversation about the value of interactive data visualization: "The superpower of interactive datavis is this fluent switching between the macro-level of overarching patterns and the micro-level of raw anecdotes."-Dominikus Baur

Custom Data Visualizations in the Workplace

ICYMI, here's a recap video of of presentations from data team leaders at Envoy, Good Eggs, and Thumbtack on their highest-impact work, how projects are conceived and received, and tips for identifying when to to invest in custom data viz.-Mode

In Defense of Interactive Graphics

The New York Times infographics editor responds to the statement “interactive infographics are dead.”-Gregor Aisch

If Data Visualization is So Hot, Why Are People Leaving?

There are prominent theorists and practitioners in data visualization that simply do not believe there is such a thing as a dedicated data visualization role in industry.-Elijah Meeks

There be dragons: dataviz in the industry

There’s one nut data visualization practitioners haven't been able to crack: anchoring bespoke data visualization as a full fledged profession in corporate settings.-Moritz Stefaner

Rees & Mushon on DataViz Empathy

Mushon Zer-Aviv from Shual Design Studio and Kim Rees from Periscopic talk about whether data visualizations can elicit empathy, who is responsible for calls to action, and compassion fatigue.-PolicyViz

The most misleading charts of 2015, fixed

[W]hen we see charts in the wild that use fuzzy or bad data, improperly skew axes, or are otherwise misleading, we get sad.-Quartz

Tapestry 2017 Recap

Tapestry is a conference that brings together data storytellers of all stripes to share and learn from each other. Here’s a recap in the form of beautifully drawn sketchnotes.-Catherine Madden

Data GIFs and How to Make Them

Ah, the GIF. For 28 years, this file type has been used to elicit chuckles and combine multiple images and ideas. When a static chart simply won’t do, check out this tutorial for making data visualization GIFs of your very own.-Lena Groeger

3 Data Viz Hacks We Learned While Mapping Drought Data

Sensors, beacons, GPS data, and satellites have been able to generate a deluge of big data about the U.S. drought. But some of the most meaningful insights can be found by taking a “small data” approach to location data.-CARTO

Getting critical with data literacy

“The skills needed to copy and paste your spreadsheet into a great tool like Datawrapper or RAW seem far less urgent to me than being able to critically assess the limitations of your data and what it might make your viewer think.”-Zara Rahman

Data Humanism, the Revolution will be Visualized.

The second wave of data visualization will value complexity, personalization, and imperfection over simplification, efficiency, and infallibility.-Giorgia Lupi

How to Spot Visualization Lies

“It used to be that we’d see a poorly made graph or a data design goof, laugh it up a bit, and then carry on. At some point though — during this past year especially — it grew more difficult to distinguish a visualization snafu from bias and deliberate misinformation.”-FlowingData

Visual Vocabulary

A handy reference used at the Financial Times to improve chart literacy across the newsroom. Chart types are divided into categories by data relationship (e.g. deviation, correlation, distribution), so you can get some initial ideas for which visualization might work best.-Financial Times

Awesome visualization research

A curated list of data visualization research papers, books, blog posts, and other readings. It’s pretty fresh, so submit a pull request and contribute!-Matthew Conlen

Two Alternatives to Using a Second Y-Axis

“Almost as often as I see a pie chart with a hundred tiny slivers, I see line graphs using two y-axes. And it is just as bad.”-Stephanie Evergreen

A Data Point Walks Into a Bar

Mother Teresa said “If I look at the mass I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” Here are ways to encourage people to act when looking at the mass.-Lisa Charlotte Rost

Visualizing Distributions

16 ways to display distributions, from the barcode chart to the bean plot.-Darkhorse Analytics

The Rhythm of Food: Analyzing food seasonality

Remember those beautiful charts depicting food seasonality a few weeks back? The data viz practitioner responsible shares his process for investigating a complex cultural phenomenon using Google Trends data.-Truth & Beauty

What I Learned Recreating One Chart Using 24 Tools

An incredibly insightful and nuanced lay of the charting tools land.-Source

Against storytelling: We need Data Explorers to make sense of Open Data.

“Making data sources available to un-guided analysis is the foundational step of the whole thing. They offer none or few guidance to the user, unleashing a virtually infinite set of interpretations.”-DataPirata

Why we used jittery gauges in our live election forecast

There has been some debate about the jittery gauge chart we used in our live election forecast. Rather than replying to dozens of tweets I decided to wrap this up in an old-fashioned blog post.-Gregor Aisch

Gauging Election Reactions

Electoral maps received a lot of scrutiny this election, but the New York Times gauge charts (and their jittery needles) were met with a forceful backlash. The issue at hand? Conveying uncertainty in charts.-http://www.visualisingdata.com/2016/11/gauging-election-reaction/

415 Data Visualization Tools

This collection of tools might seem overwhelming at first. Fear not! Filtering by features, data types, cost, and several other variables will help you find what you need, fast.-Adil Yalçın

All Those Misleading Election Maps

Would you draw a line chart with the lines all over the place, not where the values actually are? Of course not. Yet somehow, every single election map works like that.-eagereyes

Electoral Maps All Look a Little Different. Here’s Why

Every map makes compromises. The Mercator projection, which sacrifices accurate geography for nice, straight lines, is a classic example. Electoral cartograms, which visualize the political climates of individual states, are another.-null

Election maps are telling you big lies about small things

This kind of map is common in almost every election: 50 states (and the District), two colors, one winner. Despite its ubiquity, it is profoundly flawed.-Washington Post

There Are Many Ways to Map Election Results. We’ve Tried Most of Them.

There is no perfect form for showing results in a nuanced way that is at once fair, accessible and revealing. Different types of maps, and charts for that matter, are better at each of these things than others.-New York Times

Let’s Chart: stop those lying line charts

In a quest for connected points and smoothed lines, we may be implying continuity where it doesn’t exist.-Signal v. Noise

Violin Plots 101: Visualizing Distribution and Probability Density

Violin plots are a hybrid of box plots and kernel density plots. They're particularly useful for seeing the full distribution of a dataset.-Mode

Data-Driven Guides: Supporting Expressive Design for Information Graphics

Right now, there are two types of tools for making data visualizations: rigid charting tools or freeform illustration tools. Data-Driven Guides is a technique that makes the best of both worlds.-Nam Wook Kim

Exploratory Data Analysis: Widening Your View Point

Visualization is as instrumental for exploratory analysis as it is for communicating results. Here’s a framework for using visual techniques to interrogate your data.-Statistics Views

Why I Believe That US Election Maps Should Show Electoral And Popular Votes

Because of the “winner take all” U.S. election system, electoral maps are a better representation of who will become president. But they hide how diverse the popular vote can be within each state.-Lisa Charlotte Rost

How One 19-Year-Old Illinois Man Is Distorting National Polling Averages

This deep-dive into the methodology of an election poll highlights how decisions about sample size weighting can increase the impact of a single data point.-The Upshot

When Did Charts Become Popular?

Charts have become so ubiquitous that it’s easy to take their existence for granted. Explore how the use of charts in the media has changed dramatically throughout the past 150 years, using data from the New York Times.-Priceonomics

We Gave Four Good Pollsters the Same Raw Data. They Had Four Different Results.

Dig into the methodology of four different pollsters to learn how choices made about handling data, such as adjusting the sample and identifying likely voters, can impact results.-New York Times

How important is creativity in a data visualisation?

What makes a data viz creative? This post tackles the question by examining real-world examples from practitioners like Andy Kirk, Giorgia Lupi, and Stefanie Posavec.-Neil Richards

Introduction to Data Visualization with Altair

Looking for a new Python data viz library? Try out Altair, which does some of the visualization work for you by attempting to interpret your data and make reasonable assumptions about how to display it.-Practical Business Python

Pareto Chart 101: Visualizing the 80-20 Rule

The Pareto chart is a bar + line chart that's useful for determining which actions will result in the most value for a business.-Mode

To the point: 7 reasons you should use dot graphs

The pros of dot plots (illustrated with real-world examples) and why they’re often a better choice over bar and line charts.-Maarten Lambrechts

Statisticians, Remember Your Native Tongue

“You can be the most advanced statistician in the world, but if you cannot clearly report your findings to decision makers, your work is wasted.”-Perceptual Edge

Colorgorical: A tool generating categorical color palettes

Any data viz practitioner worth her salt knows color is important. Don’t spend time painstakingly picking out a color palette for your charts—Colorgorical will generate one for you based on number of colors, perceptual distance, and hue. Colorgorical is also on Github if you want to peek under the hood.-Colorgorical

The Repetitive and Boring History of Visualization

Ask someone about the history of data visualization and you’re sure to hear the same mantra of example: William Playfair’s trade-balance time-series chart, Florence Nightingale’s 'rose diagrams', John Snow’s cholera map. While these early data viz have great stories attached to them, we don’t know exactly how impactful they were during their day. This post highlights three little-known examples that probably shaped the craft more than any of the usual suspects.-eagereyes

Design Better Tables

The ire raised by data tables is due, no doubt, to just how awful they can look when they’re not well designed. The design of a table is its linchpin: if it’s done right, it makes complex data easy to scan and compare. If it’s done wrong, it can render information completely incomprehensible.-Mission Log

10 Significant Visualisation Developments: January to June 2016

Every six months, visualization expert Andy Kirk puts together a list of people and projects he feels have impacted the field. This roundup includes climate spiral plots, #MakeoverMonday, and a talk from the Deputy Graphics Editor at The New York Times.-Visualising Data

Our nine-point guide to spotting a dodgy statistic

Numbers might appear unwavering and objective, but they’re easily manipulated—especially by politicians. Here are some common ways people spin numbers to support their agenda, with real-life examples from Brexit, the U.S. presidential election, and more.-The Guardian

Simple requirements gathering questions for dashboard design

Next time someone asks you to make a dashboard, pull this list out. It provides a framework for sussing out what’s needed for the dashboard to be useful and effective.-Paint by Numbers

The Surprising History of the Infographic

How did data visualization influence the Civil War, Florence Nightingale, and the 19th century U.K. wheat industry? Take a tour of infographics past to find out.-Smithsonian.com

11 Data Visualization Experts Who Will Constantly Inspire You

These data visualization experts contribute to the community on a daily basis. Follow them, and you'll never be short on inspiration.-Mode

Visualising Data: A Handbook for Data Driven Design

Data viz thought leader Andy Kirk recently released his first book. He put together a companion site full of resources and references that are useful whether you buy the book or not.-Visualising Data

Why we didn’t use a cartogram in the Brexit map

After Brexit, tons of publications released maps of how the U.K. voted. Graphics editor Gregor Aisch shares why The New York Times opted for a simple map—and the challenges of using cartograms in the news.-Gregor Aisch

How the Sketching Process Works

Sometimes figuring out how to visualize a dataset means stepping back from your computer and getting out a pen and paper.-Ann K. Emery

A Pair of Pie Chart Papers

Conventional wisdom states that we read pie charts according to the angle of each pie slice, but is that actually true? These new studies show that it has very little to do with angles at all.-eagereyes

What Election Map History Can Teach You About Presenting Data

Great data presentations hit the sweet spot between clarity and conciseness. Here are some tips for presenting data, gleaned from examining the history of U.S. election maps.-Mode

Ask Me Anything with Scott Berinato, HBR senior editor

Scott Berinato, senior editor at Harvard Business Review and author of Good Charts, recently did an AMA on the Data is Beautiful subreddit about data visualizations in business.-Reddit

One Chart, Twelve Charting Libraries

In the following blog post, I will try to get to know a few [libraries] out of the great sea of possibilities. I want to understand their differences and how easy it is to learn them. To do so, I created the same bubble chart with twelve different frameworks.-Lisa Charlotte Rost

One Chart, Twelve Tools

Most data practitioners have a favorite data visualization tool—whether it’s ggplot, Seaborn, or good old-fashioned Excel. But for a beginner, the range of options can be overwhelming. This post explores 12 tools for creating the same bubble chart, complete with code.-Lisa Charlotte Rost

The Data Visualisation Catalogue

What’s the best way to visualize this distribution? Or that range of data? Sometimes the answer isn’t so clear. This comprehensive collection of data visualizations will help you find the right method for your needs. Select the function you’re trying to achieve, and (BAM!) you’ve got a list of charts to choose from.-The Data Visualisation Catalogue

The Need for Openness in Data Journalism

What would it look like if data journalism borrowed the scientific practices of sharing research and reviewing findings? Here’s a peek, using a FiveThirtyEight article as the example.-Brian Keegan

All the ‘Six Questions with…’

Interviews with 15 data viz experts. All in one place. Get readin’.-Visualising Data

The Art and Science of Storytelling Through Data at Jawbone

Analysis can be worthless if it’s not communicated well. Jawbone data scientist Kirstin Aschbacher shares how she develops a data story that inspires action, from concept to presentation.-Insight Data Science

The correct way to use pie charts

Pie charts get a lot of flack in the data visualization community, but sometimes they prove useful. Can this post salvage their reputation?-Randy Olson

The Trials and Tribulations of Data Visualization for Good

This observation from Jake Porway, Executive Director of Datakind, is particularly compelling: 'Data visualization is incredibly good for allowing one to ask questions, not answer them.'-Markets for Good

Revisiting the vaccine visualizations

The right color palette can make a great visualization even better. This redesign of Wall Street Journal heat maps sets the bar.-Randal S. Olson

The Little of Visualisation Design

Whether it’s the positioning of labels or the placement of the y-axis, the smallest detail can make or break a visualization. In this new, bite-size series, data visualization specialist Andy Kirk evaluates the effectiveness of charts found in the real world.-Visualising Data

How a Small Data Design Company Visualized the World’s Scientific Collaborations

Nature recently published an interactive visualization capturing the patterns of scientific collaboration across the globe. Go behind the scenes with Small Multiples, the design firm that created the graphic, to learn how they approach designing with data. A great read for any digital storyteller.-Storybench

What Would Feminist Data Visualization Look Like?

Data visualizations wield immense power. It’s up to their makers to ensure visualizations represent subjects responsibly. This article provides some great suggestions for how to recognize the limitations of your visualization, investigate data provenance, and become comfortable with uncertainty by inviting dissent.-MIT Center for Civic Media

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