Before You Chart

Charts and Geocharts are powerful tools that make complex concepts visual and impactful using drag-and-drop charts and data-driven graphics.

To create effective visualizations, it’s important to understand what you want to reveal when using a visualization tool. Charts created without a driving concept (“This is what I want people to see”) and an understanding of how to make that concept visual can be confusing and end up obscuring the information they were meant to illuminate.

Visualization Planning

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is the overall objective for visualizing this data?
  • What do you want users/viewers to immediately understand when they look at the chart?
  • What’s the best way to display the information you want to visualize and which type of chart would be best?

Now, think about the information itself:

  • What data do you want to surface to support the objective? This will inform how you set up a chart’s data (Y) axis (or a geochart’s series list), as well as help determine which models and fields to use in the data series.
  • How do you want to group that data? This will define which categories to use as the category (X) axis for a chart.
  • For a geochart, for which regions do you want users to see associated data? Worldwide? Nationally? Regionally?
  • How many records are involved? For large record sets, it may be smart to use an aggregate model.

With a little thought and planning, your visualizations can help users interact graphically with data and see their input re-render instantly.