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Monday, Jul. 30, 2007 at 3:36 pm

Do You Know How to Showcase Your Data?

By Bryan Eisenberg
July 30th, 2007

Stuck in the box?One of the key elements of becoming a great web analyst is knowing how to best present your data.

Take a crack at the Graph Design IQ test and let us know how you did in the comments. What other resources like these have you used to learn about presenting data?

(By the way, anyone who has this responsibility should take Edward Tufte’s Presenting Data and Information course.)

Update: Anil asks are Pixels the new Pie Charts?

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Comments (9)

  1. 10 out of 10. Too easy. :)

    Someone should “write” a book with three examples per page: Bad – Good – Excellent.

    The reason I was hesitant to use the word write is that really good books about data visualization contain zero words. ;-)

  2. I got 10 out of 10. I have no merit, I attended Stephen Few’s first public class in early June. It was an amingly enlighting experience. It had an immediate impact on my work.

  3. I can’t update my Flash (corporate shackels), so I couldn’t score. But I’ve often been told that I rock data hardcore.

    For great books on data visualization, see Edward Tufte’s site:

    One book (instead of all four) would most likely be sufficient (they all seem to expound on the same theories of data density and the like), but well worth the read (look).

  4. I got 10 out of 10. I suspect that Information Mapping( training helped. I sure wasn’t born with the knowledge.

  5. Another 10 out of 10. I’m a huge Tufte fan, which helps. (And based on some early reader feedback, I’m already improving the last graphic of the white paper that’s in your Inbox! lol)

  6. 10/10
    Although, I wonder if people who score less would own up to it!
    Love the Tufte.

  7. 9 out of 10. I am one of the few who will admit there is always room for improvement…..At this point looks like I am the only one :)

  8. [...] the last few years we have had a flurry of new techniques beyond the conventional ways to visualize data – tables, histograms, pie charts and bar graphs to display data. Smashing magazine points us to [...]

  9. I found it interesting to note how many of you began by boasting a “10 out of 10″ score on my “Graph Design IQ Test.” This test was intentionally designed to illustrate in obvious ways the superiority of good graph design practices compared to the poor practices that have become common in the business world. The greater effectiveness of one graph over the other in each of the 10 questions was designed to be obvious so that even people with no training in data visualization could easily use their eyes and brains to recognize the difference. The point that I’m trying to make is that you don’t need to be highly trained to present data effectively. The principles and practices are easy to learn, but they are not intuitive or obvious until you see bad and good examples side by side and have heard someone explain what makes the good practices work. In other words, training is needed, but it isn’t difficult if you have the right resources. These simple lessons are taught in my book “Show Me the Numbers” and in my “Table and Graph Design for Effective Communication” course.

    Take care,

    Stephen Few
    Perceptual Edge

    P.S. to Lars: A book about data visualization without words would not be very effective. Some information is best communicated in pictures and some in words. Both serve important roles in learning, even about data visualization.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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