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Data Presentation

This guide provides information about various data visualizations types, design principles, as well as data presentation tools.

Select a Visualization Type

Are you making comparisons, showing connections, highlighting changes, or revealing patterns with your data?

The first step in choosing the best visualization type for your data is determining the purpose of the visualization. Visualization categories or functions can include: Comparisons, Proportions, Relationships, Hierarchy, Location, Distribution, Processes, Flow, Patterns, Range, Time, Textual analysis, etc..

Once you have identified your data category, it is time to think about how best to represent your data.

According to William S. Cleveland and Robert McGill's 1985, "Graphical perception and graphical methods for analyzing scientific data.", some characteristics of data visualization are easier for the human eye to perceive than others.

Easiest 1) position along a common scale
  2) position along a non-aligned scale
  3) length
  4) angle and slope
  5) area
  6) volume, density, and color saturation
Most Difficult 7) color hue 

There are many online tools available for selecting a graphic form for your data. Here are a few examples:

  • The Data Visualisation Catalogue, developed by Severino Ribecca, allows you to search for visualizations by function or view a list sorted by type of chart. - https://datavizcatalogue.com/ 
  • Emery's Essentials, developed by Ann K. Emery, provides a list and examples of various charts organized by function - http://annkemery.com/essentials/