If you follow Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, you know I’m shamelessly stealing this post title from him. He says that most of the time a list is sorted alphabetically because a) it’s easier to find a name and b) designers are lazy and don’t want to bother finding a better sorting key. While he writes from … Read more
Seven years ago, my wife and I drove 400 miles to the nearest Ikea store and bought furniture for the entire house. Today we have two stores in our city. Things change. Last week we bought a large, wall-to-wall bookcase and replaced some of the old stuff. I don’t really mind to assemble Ikea furniture. … Read more
This too much discussed paper “found that people’s accuracy in describing the embellished charts was no worse than for plain charts, and that their recall after a two-to-three week gap was significantly better. In addition, participants preferred the embellished charts“. OK, let’s take a deep breath. Apparently, all things being equal, you should use a … Read more
There are so many bad charts published every single day that redesigning some of them would be a full time job. Many are involuntarily funny. And there are some dangerous and stupid ones. I live in Portugal, a small country that only gets international press coverage when something goes wrong. Like now. Public debt is … Read more
Did you know that turkey consumption soared after the launch of Microsoft Windows 1.0? And did you know that this growth trajectory lasted until Windows 3.0? Coincidence? I don’t think so… I find this amusing. Sorry. By the way, don’t try to be funny when making charts. Most of the time you’ll fail, specially if … Read more
Stephen Few left a comment in my post “Is Data Visualization Useful? You’ll Have to Prove it“. We all have much to learn with Steve, so instead of leaving the discussion buried in an old post, I thought it would be interesting to make it more visible. Please read the comment then come here and … Read more
I often read that you should make your charts “memorable”. Well, I’m not sure if this is a good advice, specially when people use “memorable” and “professional-looking” in the same sentence. It’s OK if you are a graphic designer and you want to spend some time crafting an unique chart that draws the attention of … Read more
Creativity is such a positive quality that it is almost painful to argue that you shouldn’t try to be creative when making charts. But you shouldn’t. Really. If you are too creative and the users can’t understand the chart in a few seconds they will dismiss it as useless. If you break basic conventions (time … Read more
(They don’t have to be explained.) [Update: Sally Bigwood said it better here].
Microsoft Office Online Training is the perfect example of what you should not learn about charts and data visualization.