# 10 tips-to-create-useful-beautiful-visualizations

23 Nov 2012
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### 10 tips-to-create-useful-beautiful-visualizations

• 1. Tips to Create Useful and Beautiful Visualizations
• 2. 1 Tell a story! y Profitable vs. Unprofitable IPOs IPO Decade: Every viz should tell a  y 2000s 150% 1990s story. As you create your  153% 1980s 110% visualization, make sure  Day Since IPO: to continually ask, “What  story does this tell? story does this tell?” O* 0 to 800 Average Return Since IPO 100% 86% 89% Profitable at IPO Not profitable This viz shows us that  Profitable companies that IPO’d  50% 39% after reaching  36% profitability were far  more successful in the  0% long run. long run Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 0 255 510 765 Trading Days Since IPO
• 3. 2 Orient text horizontally y Unfunded Pension Liability by State IL OH 800K 600K 400K 200K 0K Sometimes the small changes make all the difference in understanding
• 4. 3 Avoid pies! Except on maps… p p p Can you tell which slice is largest? Region Graffiti by Precinct and Resolution East Age Group g p South 0-15 16-24 25-40 41-64 65+ West This is the same information represented as bars. Comparisons are much easier. Age Group 0-15 16-24 25-40 41-64 65+ 50% 40% rcent of Total Users 30% 20% Per 10% 0% Bar charts beat pies every time!  But… pies can be effective on maps. The human eye can compare height  The human eye can compare height The same comparison problem exists,  The same comparison problem exists much easier than area. but pies allow analysis in small spaces.
• 5. 4 Use multiple views p Unemployment by Decade and Year Highlight Decade: 1940's ---0 ---1 ---2 ---3 ---4 ---5 ---6 ---7 ---8 ---9 1950's 12% 1960's 10% 1970's 1980's 8% 1990's 2000's 6% 4% 2% 0% Month over Month 12% January 2009 y September 1983 p 10% 8% 6% Average= 5.6% 4% 2% 0% Average= 116K -1,000K -500K 0K 500K 1,000K Source: Bureau of L.. Change in Employment from Prior Month Use two coordinated views to show depth,  rather than trying to place everything into one view.
• 6. 5 Bullets beat Gauges g > Besides being difficult to read, gauges take up tons of space. Use bullets charts!
• 7. 6 Increase effectiveness with color The human eye can detect subtle differences in color much faster than it can read subtle  differences in text. Using color saves on space too! diff i i l !
• 8. 7 But not too many colors at once y District of Columbia Crimespotting OFFENSE HOMICIDE ADW ROBBERY SEX ABUSE ARSON BURGLARY STOLEN AUTO THEFT THEFT F/AUTO About Tableau maps: www.tableausoftware.com/mapdata Using more than 10 colors can cause them to blend together and confuse. This view is only using 8 colors, but it is still difficult to differentiate the greens. This view is only using 8 colors but it is still difficult to differentiate the greens
• 9. 8 Labels make it clear Profit 2007 2008 2009 2010 Labels are wonderful for calling out key data points and actions
• 10. 9 Make it interactive! Enable filters, highlighting and clicking for more detail to  Enable filters highlighting and clicking for more detail to supercharge the usefulness of your visualization
• 11. 10 No ornamentation necessary y This viz shows the National Activity Index. Not exactly exciting stuff. Yet, this simple  visualization tells a story and does it without ornamentation or added presentation layers.  visualization tells a story and does it without ornamentation or added presentation layers Let the data tell the story!