Get a cheap pedometer and a pair of comfortable walking shoes and walk 10,000 steps per day. It you don’t want to be an Olympic champion that’s all you need to improve your wellness and raise awareness towards a healthier lifestyle.

If 10,000 seem too much don’t worry. Just keep the pedometer in your pocket and you’ll start finding new opportunities for adding some more steps.

This is not a lifestyle/fitness blog, so why am I discussing the advantages of a fitness program? Because it is not that different from a data visualization fitness program.

Instead of a 10,000 steps program, a data visualization fitness program contains only six. For example:

  • Removing 3D effects;
  • Avoiding pie charts;
  • Cutting chart size by 50%;
  • Avoiding backgrounds and clipart;
  • Removing series values from data point labels;
  • Using pale colors, minimizing primary colors and graying out grid and axis lines.

Do these steps require expensive equipment? No, of course not, you just need Excel or an open source spreadsheet.

This will improve your charts, but it will not make you an instant data visualization expert. Like the 10,000 steps program, just do it. Eventually you’ll start asking questions, not only about these rules but also about many more data visualization topics (perception, the data itself, usability…). You’re becoming aware of what data visualization is all about, and that’s what matters.

This is June, we don’t have to reinvent ourselves like we do every January. Change just a little, measure it, keep doing it. When January comes, you’ll be ready.

What do you think? How do people change from a data visualization couch potato to a better data visualization lifestyle?