To not use a chart …

This month I’d like to start by sharing with you an article I found interesting, written by a Wall Street Journal visual journalist, Sarah Slobin. She was working on a 6 month project with a huge amount of data and this article details the journey she and her team went on before making a decision which surprised them – deciding not to use any charts at all.

To use one …

It’s a thought which is somewhat reinforced by this infographic, which appears as much like a sketchy drawing as anything, but aligns to the idea that people can often be represented better by photos and portraits than by data about them

The whole infographic could serve as a nice crib sheet to show which categories of data are best suited to charts and which to some other representation.

Get the colours right

 This month I also enjoyed several of Andy Kirk’s visualisation tips – particularly this one which is about the many many different ways in which greyscales can be used to improve a data visualisation. He provides examples of grey used to subdue parts of the data, grey used to show an overall data shape, grey used to provide a dashboard layout …. It’s an interesting subject, because colour choices are always so crucial to any visual representation of data. Andy Kirk’s examples are all good, but one picked for Tableau’s visualisation of the day this month was notable for its poor colour selection.

Data visualisation can be emotionally moving

Finally, this beautiful website was shared with me after I published last month’s article. The music has been playing gently in the background as I’ve been selecting which blogs and articles to highlight and each time I’ve flicked to it I’ve been struck by the faded “r” in the words “I remember” at the top of the screen.

I’ve taken time this month, on and off, to flick through memories which have been shared here in the name of Alzheimer’s research. Do so yourself, share your own memories, be a part of this enormous global data sharing project. Every light is something meaningful to someone, somewhere.