About this lesson
Exploring two rules that help ensure your charts convey their intended message.
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5 Rules of Effective Charting: Rules 1-2
5 rules to create effective charts and visualizations.
When to use
Use to create effective visuals that convey your intended message to your audience.
Rule 1: Every Chart Should Tell a Story
- The purpose of charting is to turn data into information that can be consumed quickly
- Make your charts tell a story
- Try to clarify this story to yourself before you start building your chart
Rule 2: Pick the Right Chart Type
- Remember that the human brain has trouble with angles but not lines
- Try to avoid pie charts and use bar or column charts instead
Rule 3: Make it a Short Story
- Focus on the story you want to tell!
- Don’t try to put too much data or series into one chart
- Multiple charts with less data can be consumed more quickly than one chart with lots of data
Rule 4: Avoid Chart Junk and Noise
- Every chart should be customized to show the data in the best way possible
- Remove all extra chart elements as they just add noise and distraction
- Always skip 3D chart options as they just add distortion
Rule 5: Review Your Completed Chart
- Be critical!
- Does it REALLY tell the story you intended?
- Can you pick a better chart type?
- Is it self-explanatory?
- Can you review anything to make it more effective?
Hints & tips
- Follow the tips above and you’ll be a data visualization expert in no time!
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