In the World of Data Visualization, Looks Aren’t Everything

The purpose of data visualization is to communicate information in an easy-to-digest visual format that can help another person make informed decisions. Tools like Tableau can enable the development complex and often, stunning visuals. Sometimes, this can be a problem.

It may seem like a beautiful visualization is a good thing but beauty can get in the way of functionality. John Heisler attended a hands-on Jedi training session given by Chris Love (@ChrisLuv) at the Tableau conference in November which illustrated this concept perfectly. In this video, he illustrates two ways to build a visualization of the same data. His first process takes about 18 minutes and requires advanced analytics knowledge. The result is a very nice-looking Sankey diagram. His second process takes less than one minute and produces a visualization that makes the data much easier to understand. As John says, “Get out of the way of the data. Be straightforward."