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Data Visualization: Which Chart Should I use?

By on December 6, 2012

As a data visualization engineer at Datameer, I work every day with charts and graphs manipulating data and thinking about how to make the best insights the most salient.

For me, the first step toward developing any visualization is figuring out what question I am trying to answer. This informs how I prepare my data and naturally leads to the consideration: What does the answer to my question look like? What are the relevant fields? What is it about those fields that I want to know?

With the right data in hand, the best way to present it is, often, with a chart. Which chart is a choice that seems simple at first and becomes many-faceted as you look deeper.

Inspired by Extreme Presentation, I put together a short video about what charts are best suited to which questions based on how that question is answered by the data. I walk through the different Datameer charts to consider when trying to show a comparison between data values, a relationship between values or fields, the composition of one or more fields, or the distribution of one or more fields. Of course most charts are useful in more than one way! Trying out several charts with your data is easy with Datameer Business Infographics, and is often the best way to finalize your choice and communicate your ideas with the most clarity.

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Alexander Skaburskis