14 Basic Skills for Chart Makers (Big question: How many do you have?)
Blame John Walkenbach if you don’t like this post. There, I said it.
Debra added her 14 cents by writing 14 basic skills for excel users.
I got jittery and quickly searched 14 basic skills for people writing 14 basic skills posts on google. Alas! nothing found. But being the inveterate non-give-upper I went ahead and prepared my list.
<drum roll> here is the,
14 basic skills for people making charts (or graphs or plots or ok, you get the point)
- Know when to not make a chart
- Know the basic chart types – bar charts, line charts, scatter charts, bubble charts, pie charts, dot plots and more
- Know how to massage, pre-process, arm twist your data so that charts can be constructed
- Know formulas like vlookup, match, index, indirect so that you can get what you want
- Know what chart junk means and how to get rid of it
- Know the types of charts to avoid and the perils of using them
- Know how many and what colors to use. Understand concepts like contrast and repetition
- Know that keeping it simple is far more effective than keeping it complex
- Know that charts are stories and give priority accordingly.
- Know how to use chart templates
- Know charting concepts like dynamic charts, sparklines, tag clouds, combining 2 chart types etc.
- Know the limitations of tools and use the right ones for the occasion (excel for simple and easy graphs, manyeyes for complex visualizations, R for fun and elaborate stuff, Google spreadsheets for maps and organization charts etc.)
- Know that there are beautiful examples around us and learn from them [what your zoo can teach you about visualization]
- Know where to look when you are stuck – PeltierTech, PHD Charting Pages, Google.
Now, it is time for the big screaming question:
How many of these skills you have? Where do you think you should improve?
Please share with us below.
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