Data visualization is a powerful tool to communicate complex information in an engaging way. By visualizing information, our brains can synthesize and retain content more effectively, increasing its impact. But if data isn’t properly visualized, it can do more damage than good. The wrong presentation can diminish the data’s message or, worse, misrepresent it entirely.
That’s why good data visualization relies on good design. And it’s about more than just choosing the right chart type. It’s about presenting information in a way that is easy to understand and intuitive to navigate, making the viewer do as little legwork as possible. Of course, not all designers are data visualization experts, which is why much of the visual content we see is, well, less than stellar. Here are 10 data visualization mistakes you’re probably making and the quick fixes to remedy them.
1. Misordering Pie Segments
2. Arranging Data Non-Intuitively
3. Obscuring Your Data
4. Making the Reader Do More Work
5. Misrepresenting Data
6. Using Different Colors on a Heat Map
7. Making Bars Too Wide or Too Thin
8. Making it Hard to Compare Data
9. Using Non-Solid Lines in a Line Chart
10. Using 3D Charts