Data has always been  the core of strategic thinking. We need to define, monitor and report the key findings to make a decision. In this short blog, I would like to focus reporting data in the best possible way.  We  have access to different tools to create charts infographics and turn the data into powerful information and icharts is one of them. We have data abundance and variety of tools  but there comes a point in not knowing how to present this data. There has been an explosion of infographics and very complicated interactive charts out in the press. It is quite impressive to see complex data visulisations but sometimes I belive a simple chart achives more then a thousand words and pretty images. If you are like me scared of handling data and turning them into informative charts you might make use of the following tips to get started:

Have a goal

Graphs and charts are great because they communicate information visually. But we need to visualise from the beginning how we would like to present our data. You need  a vision and this starts at  collecting the data. If you have a clear vision of what data you want then you can present it in a better. So have a goal and a vision before you even start collecting the data. It can be a survey that you are planning to create to get to know your customers or would like to get some feedback on a new product. Whatever the subject is be clear on the data that you would like to receive at the end of this survey. Analyze and organize the data, and figure out what  message you would like to convey then start planning for your chart

Think Simple Chart

Once you have the data that you want it is crucial that you present this data in the most attractive and clear way. A simple chart can be a killer or a winner !  I know that there are highly detailed infographics, massive big interactive charts but sometimes what we forget is the data. In all that complex illustrations we loose the data. Data is where we start and where we should end. Do not loose it in the creation of a chart.

Know your options and choose wisely

According to wikipedia a  chart is a graphical representation of data, in which “the data is represented by symbols, such as bars in a bar chart, lines in a line chart, or slices in a pie chart” Charts are often used to ease understanding of large quantities of data and the relationships between parts of the data. Once you have collected your raw data, you need to represent it in a diagram. Two simple ways of doing this are to use a pie chart or frequency diagram. Pie charts would suit data that are in percentages.

Pie Chart

Pie charts work wonderful for multiple choice questions that limit you with one answer. Perfect for gender, age, and any other demographics. The main purpose of the pie chart is part-whole relationships for example, what does one slice mean in comparison to the whole of the pie. I find pie charts simple and very effective but please do not make the most common mistake; if the slices of your pie chart  do not add up to 100 % it is basically not going to work.  Also just do not overcrowd your pie chart, just limit your slices to may be 5 maximum. Think about how you can minimize the slices. A lot have been written about Pie charts and here is one that I love:  Understanding Pie Charts from eagereyes.

Bar Chart

Bar charts/ graphs shows relative sizes of different results and are great for comparing different values but the bar chart will not show you the part-whole relationship like in the pie chart. Bar graphs are used to compare things between different groups or to track changes over time. It ‘s very important design wise to sort your values so its is easier for our eye to follow the data. Again try to keep it simple and less crowded so we focus on the most important.

Line Graph

Line Graphs are perfect to show connected data ie sales increase over the years our website views over a period of a month. Line charts are best when a variable has more than four or five data points and are connected over time. If you have less data points then you might need to consider your choice of chart and look at a bar chart instead.

 

Here at icharts we give you the tools to create great looking charts and make this experience a joyful one 🙂 Sometimes it is just about being inspired so do take a look at our chartchannel to see what data sets we have used and how we have charted them. May be you would like to embed them to your report or blog then take a look at this short tutorial on how to embed our charts to your website . Explore, be inspired and create. Looking forward to seeing your great looking charts do share them with us.