Dissecting How to Choose the Right Chart

October 18th, 2018
How can you choose the right chart? There can be so many different ways to visualize your data, it helps to have a basic guideline to follow.
Dissecting How to Choose the Right Chart

Especially if you are just getting started creating charts or if you have existing data sets that you seek to visualize. It’s natural for me to see a data set or a have a goal in mind and know which chart to rely on, but if you are just beginning to visualize your data, basic mistakes are quite common.

One famous example of data visualization that did not achieve its purpose is this 1908 London Underground pocket map. As you can see, this map showed the Tube stations in relation to landmarks and streets above ground in London but navigation was a problem if you wanted to do something as simple as change from one line to another.

In 1931, Henry Beck, engineering draftsman with the London Underground’s Signals Office came up with a more effective way to visualize the same information: a diagrammatic map (see below). With this new map, travelers could easily count their number of stops, changes and navigate which line would get them to their destination in the fewest stops. As you can see, the same data can be displayed in more than one way – it all depends on your purpose and what you are looking to show your audience.


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