Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Data Visualization

This guide is meant to be a basic introduction to data visualization. Anyone is free to use it!

Evaluating Data Visualizations: A Step-by-Step Process

What makes a great data visualization? Depending on who you ask, you may get a variety of answers. However, great data visualizations do share some similar characteristics. See the chart below for some of the characteristics and that great visualizations have.

undefined

More Resources:

 

Tips for Analyzing Data Visualizations:

For this section of the guide, I use the New York Times, Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak as an example. 

1. Before you start looking at the visualization, read the title and any related text. This is an essential first step because, the title and description helps you understand what the message of the data visualization is and how it should be read. Look at the screenshot example below to see an example of how one could analyze this information. 

undefined

2.  Take in the information in front of you and give yourself time to see how the visualization is organized. What do you see? What format is the visualization in? Do you think the format works for the data being presented? What argument/statement do you think the visualization is trying to make? All of these questions are important to consider when analyzing a visualization. See the screenshot below for an example of this process.

undefined

3. Always look at the sources of the visualization. You want to know where the data is coming from and if that source is reliable. For example, this information is found under the map visualization by the New York Times (see screenshot below).

undefined