What Google Can’t Tell You About Data Visualization

Dribble — If you are using dribble, there is an option at the bottom of every design which shows the various colors along with the HEX code used in the design.

Dribble

White Space — The one thing that separates a rookie from the legends is the appropriate use of white space, this is one of those things where the more your practice and observe expert’s visualizations the better you get, it’s difficult to set up a rule to manage white space.

Practice Makes Perfect — This might be true for the whole process of data visualization but this is indefinitely applied when managing white space.

“The one thing which I struggled in the earlier days was to manage white space, but its really the more your practice the better you get a sense of it” — Dzifa Amexo.

Organizing your dashboard

While color and white space are very important for a stunning design, organizing your dashboard in a way that tells a story to the viewer is equally crucial as well.

Some tools can come in handy when it comes to organizing a dashboard. One of the most popular tools out there is Adobe Illustrator, but it comes only with subscriptions and if you are a data enthusiast who is not making money out of your design work, having a subscription may not make sense to you.

There are free tools like Figma, Sketch and Adobe XD which help you get organized, recently there has been a tremendous increase in the number of people who use Figma as their primary design tool, there might be few reasons for this, but one of the primary reasons is that its free and you don’t have to worry about installing anything on your computer, Just login and start designing your dashboard.

Tweet from Robert Janezic

Here is a tweet from @RobertJanezic, which illustrated a final product after using Figma in the design progress to organize the dashboard.

Fonts

When you are using a certain font, the chances are that it might not work with the web browser or it might be slightly different from how it looks on your desktop, so it’s a good practice always to test your font on different platforms with completely different environments to make sure it works as expected.

When it comes to working with Tableau, the tableau public version only supports certain fonts and colors. so it’s better to check the below guide from James Fox about the different fonts and how it will look on the web after you publish it.

Tableau Font and Colour Guide — James Fox

A rule of thumb is that always try to stick with the least number of fonts as possible for a particular dashboard.

Apart from the above guide from James, you can also make use of Google Fonts and Font pair when considering different fonts.

This is the single most important step of the entire process. After one is done with a dashboard, getting feedback from peers or mentors can help in so many different ways from reiterating the dashboard with a different design to getting a different perspective on the insights.

I’m pretty sure by this point that everyone in the community wants to see you succeed and you won’t get a rude reply from anyone when you reach out to them. Just be considerate of their time and be polite with your request.

When asked what’s one thing they wish they knew about Data viz when they started their data viz journey, the answer was more or less the same. Getting into the community and getting feedback.

“The one thing I wish I knew when I first started out was to publish my work on a public forum and get feedback, I literally kind of waster 1–2 years before I started getting feedback” — Nitin Paighowal

“If you are a bot skeptical about posting your work online on a public forum, there are many ways to get feedback privately. Talk to people on twitter privately and a lot of people are willing to give you feedback” — Max Tham

“ I wish I had known about the #datafam earlier! Imagine how much more I could have learned and how much more fun I could have had! “ — Thi Ho

“If you are talking one thing from this whole blog, it’s that don’t be afraid to get feedback, that’s one of the fastest ways you can grow. Everyone on the community wants to see you succeed” — Vinodh Kumar

“Become involved in the community, I was scared if people will fell im not creative enough. Everyone wants to see you succeded, done be afraid to come into the community. Feedback is important — I hate critiques, but the more you hear the more you improve and get it and improve. Feedback is a gift. Don’t compare yourself with others, if you focus on what you bring to the table, let it be unique and make quality work. Just be confident, be yourself” — Dzifa Amexo

I understand that it can be overwhelming to step into the field without knowing a lot, but often the hardest step is to start, and here are a few places you can start.

# Datafam — A twitter hashtag which has a very huge community. This might be a single best response to get feedback on your work, get inspired by a ton of stunning viz every day, and meet new people from all levels of expertise.

MakeoverMonday — Makeover Monday is your weekly learning and development appointment with yourself and hundreds of passionate data people. For free! Join us every Monday to work with a given data set and create better, more effective visualizations and help us make information more accessible. The Makeover Monday community comes together every week from around the globe and we would love for YOU to become part of it, too.

Twitter — #MakeoverMonday

TheSDGVizProject –This project focuses on the third level of action; People Action. Our goal is to use social media and data visualization to:

  • Raise awareness and promote the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Measure and report on progress towards the SDG’s
  • Provide insight into the quality of life inequities around the globe; and
  • provide opportunities for our community to contribute locally towards meeting the global goals

Twitter — #TheSDGVizProject

Workout Wednesday –

Each Wednesday a challenge is released and participants are asked to replicate the challenge that is posed as closely as possible. When you think you have it, leave a comment with a link to your visualization, share on Tableau Public, or post on Twitter for others to enjoy.

Twitter — #wow2020

Sports Viz Sunday — To all the sports fans out there, sports viz Sunday kicked off in January 2018 when three sports enthusiasts, brought together by the Tableau community, agreed to work together to share, create & promote visualizations from the world of sport.

The Alphabet Project The idea here is to viz through themes based on the letter of the Alphabet on alternate weeks throughout 2020, we will increment the Alphabet letter every 2 weeks.

Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to start — Anonymous

Good luck with your Data viz journey! I hope this post is helpful, and feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Linkedin if you may have any questions.

If you are looking for the people who contributed to this post, you can find them on Twitter, follow the links below.

Dzifa AmexoVinodh KumarThi HoMax ThamNitin Paighowal

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