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Data Visualization

What is Data Visualization

Data visualization is the graphical representation of information and data. By using visual elements like charts, graphs, and maps, data visualization tools provide an accessible way to see and understand trends, outliers, and patterns in data. Data visualization tools and technologies are essential to analyze massive amounts of information and make data-driven decisions.

Getting Started

5 Step Guide to Data Visualization

1.  Be clear on the question

  • Having a clear question to answer helps avoid a common problem in data visualization: Comparing "apples" to "oranges." 
  • Ask yourself, "How will the visualization help the reader?"

2.  Know your data and start with basic visualizations

  • When identifying the key message or messages the chart, ask yourself these questions: What variables are we trying to plot? What do the x-axis and y-axis refer to? Does the size of data points mean anything? Does the color in the chart mean anything? Are we trying to identify trends over time or correlation between variables?

3.  Identify messages of the visualization, and generate the most informative indicator

  • The most important step in visualization is to know the dataset well and what each variable represents. 

4.  Choose the right chart type

5.  Use color, size, scale, shapes, and labels to direct attention to the key messages

Lau, G. & Pan, L. (2015, January 28). A 5-step guide to data visualization [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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