Charts

What are the elements of a good chart?

According to Kevin:
A good graphic will have the appropriate labels. If it shows movement over time, it must have a scale and orientation. A good graphic tells a story all by itself. It doesn’t need much of an explanation below. A good graphic will summarize a lot of information in a relatively small amount of space.

According to Sean:
Data in good displays, according to Tufte, helps to reveal knowledge relevant to understanding cause and effect or to explain processes. The cause and effect nature of graphical displays is the most valuable part that I learned from Tufte. I always enjoyed good display; but now I include the purpose of demonstrating cause and effect as an important purpose in good displays.

Good characteristics of effective displays are as follows:

1. Good displays make quantitative comparisons
2. Good displays focus on the cause and effect relationship among the data
3. Possible errors are identified or assessed
4. Outliers or contrary cases are presented
5. Alternative explanations are presented
6. Elements are clearly labeled
7. Time data is offered in various displays to avoid aggregation biases
8. Unrelated data is not presented to clutter or distract from the cause and effect data
9. Data is organized around the independent variable to understanding cause and effect clear
10. Utility of a display can be measured by the readers understanding of the cause-and-effect relationship among the data in the display.

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