Suddenly, the colorful lollipop turns into a dangerous match

It surprised me. And it shouldn’t. You see, there is nothing wrong in using data for the sole purpose of creating aesthetically pleasing visual objects. On the other hand, if you want to make sense of the data, and communicate your findings, it’s easy to argue that effectiveness should be your primary goal. This is the general model. … Read more

Eurostat, or the art of factoid growing

It saddens me to know that 23-year old Belgium girls are incapable of abstract reasoning, something that everyone in other parts of the world take for granted by the age of 12. That’s why we should praise Eurostat for its dumb-down, infographic-oriented approach to data dissemination. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you … Read more

Bad charts from people who should know better

Over the last few days I came across some really WTF visualizations from respected people and organizations here. They all share the international language of bad design, so I’m sure you don’t need to know Portuguese to (not) understand them. Público, a newspaper:   The National Council of Education: Jorge Braga de Macedo, an economist:   FFMS, a foundation who’s … Read more

Memo regarding data management and reporting

From: CMO To: All Staff Re: Changes in internal data analysis and reporting Consistent with current efforts to streamline our operations, management team has decided to change the way the company analyses and communicates business data. Recent assessments made clear that we are using just a small fraction of the available data, many decisions are not supported … Read more

How Do You Sell an Excel Dashboard?

Dmitry asks: I face an issue that has nothing to do with Excel itself: human resistance. I showed a dashboard to my manager and he answered to me that my dashboard is too difficult for him and for top management and insisted to use simple XL-tables with lots of data. I’m a bit confused, why … Read more

Better Charts for Business: When Business Doesn’t Care

Most managers don’t care about a better visualization of business data. As a reader puts it: Short of locking management in a room with Tufte and Few, how do I sell management on the value of seeing things differently? Instead of trying to sell, let’s see why the aren’t buying. Here are some reasons. Good … Read more

Car dashboards: a broken metaphor for executive dashboards

Some metaphors are really stupid. Convincing people that running a company is like driving a car and you need a similar dashboard is one of them. If you are naive enough to buy it, most dashboard vendors will happily fill up your precious screen real estate with irrelevant gauges and and speedometers designed to look … Read more