7.11. Clarity: Tell, Don’t Just Show!
In data visualization, clarity is key.
While the old adage suggests "show, don't tell," in this case, we want to do the opposite:
— Tell, don’t just show!
The goal is to communicate the information being presented effectively, leaving no room for guesswork.
To achieve clarity in your visualizations, consider the following best practices:
- Clear Titles: For each chart and section, use clear and descriptive titles that convey what is being presented, the date range, the granularity, the currency, the data source, and the frequency of updates. This helps the viewer understand the context of the data being shown.
- Consistent Logos and Labels: If you're sourcing data from multiple platforms, use consistent logos and labels to indicate the data source and connector. This helps the viewer understand where the data is coming from and its freshness.
- Informative Tooltips: Use tooltips to provide additional information about metrics, calculations, and other details without cluttering the visualization. Tooltips can be triggered by hovering over a question mark or another icon, allowing viewers to access more information if needed.
- Detailed Scorecards: When using scorecards, be sure to include any filters, segments, or timeframes that have been applied. This ensures that viewers understand the context of the numbers being presented.
- Comparison Timeframes: If you're comparing data to previous periods, include the comparison timeframe in the title. This helps the viewer understand what time period the data is being compared to.
- Custom Formulas: If you're using a custom formula that may not be familiar to the viewer, consider including the formula directly in the visualization or within a tooltip. This helps ensure that viewers understand how specific metrics are being calculated.
By incorporating these best practices into your data visualizations, you can create clear and easy-to-understand visual representations of your data.
Remember, clarity is essential to effective communication and will set your visualizations apart from others in the field.