Best Practices in Viz Design

I am back to write about (probably) a series of blog post about Data Visualization Best Practices. Not that I will cover everything you need to know, but I will try to explain what I think is important, what I find challenging and what I think are good tips and reading resources to learn more.

WHAT DO I THINK IS IMPORTANT?

In these 2 weeks, I did a lot of research on this argument and I discovered a lot of interesting insights as well as reinforcing what I learned during the training.

“Keep it simple” – “Be careful, use colours only when you need it” – “Be creative but let people understand” – “Consider the device to use” – …

I do not forget what Andy Kriebel wrote me after my first submission of a Tableau Viz for the application at the DS:

– Does including colour add any value? If you remove colour, does it change the story?
– Consider your chart choices. For example, when looking at time, are bar charts best?

So what I did after and what I continue to do is ask myself these same questions everytime I am doing a visualisation.

WHAT DO I FIND CHALLENGING?

For sure, it is challenging to find new ways of visualizing things, experiment new complex chart types and make them “understandable” at the same time.

Sometimes, it happens that I spend time to do complex calculations in Tableau to try to build a difficult chart and then I realize that I do not like it, it does not say anything interesting and at the end a simple bar chart (or sometimes a line chart) works much better.

Probably, experimenting new ways of doing things is the best way to learn, challenge yourself, find obstacles and then break them.

WHAT DO I THINK ARE GOOD RESOURCES AND TIPS TO LEARN MORE?

I found really useful to go through some videos of the Tableau Conference 2015 (there is a clever video on mobile design – “Going mobile with Tableau” by Nick Hiritsko) as well as reading books such as Stephen Few’s book, “Information Dashboard Design”, where you can learn about different kind of Business Dashboards. For people that are interested to understand better the use of story points in Tableau, Ben Jones explains in a neat and smart way here: if you want to see the workbook, you can find it here on Tableau Public.

Other tips? I suggest to make a lot of viz and maybe participate to “social” projects such as “Makeover Monday” by Andy Kriebel, that will improve a lot your knowledge of Tableau. You will also see the chance to see how many different viz are possible with the same dataset and that is also awesome!

I will come back soon giving more insights & tips about Best Practices in Viz Design BUT expect also quite soon a blog about wines…

 

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