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May 12, 2020

How To Pick The Right Chart

There are thousands of ways to answer every question.  Picking the right chart can influence outcomes as much as the data they represent. When deciding how to visualize your data, her are three simple steps we recommend you try:

Think about your audience

Are they visual? Do they like to read into the details?  How senior are they? All of these things should factor into your visualization choices. Senior executives like 'at-a-glance' visualizations, so they know how thing work. Something beautiful, intricate, and nuanced may not be best here. However, operators that are closer to your data might be drawn to more complex visualizations, compelling them to think a little harder about how you're actually doing.

Think about context

You'll never be able to share a 'complete' picture with one visualization.  There will always be questions. So knowing what your audience might ask, and where your visualization will be presented takes a whole lot of the 'headache' that comes from sharing reporting and charts.

We find that our partners bump into two issues when sharing data out of context:

  1. The data is ignored altogether - without the context it doesn't make sense
  2. The visualization draws too much attention to something that needs context to be explained

Knowing these, you can actually use simple, direct visualizations to draw attention to key business needs. Top analysts around the world use this to help influence decision makers who might otherwise be too detached from critical business information.

Plan for repetition

If you're putting together anything of value, you're going to be asked to update it again. Don't put 12 hours into crafting something spectacular if you know you're going to be asked for it every week going forward. While visualizations can help draw attention to critical pieces of information, they can also create endless work if not prepped properly. Make sure your time is aligned with the things most valuable to you and your business.

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