5 simple ways to improve your data visualisations

You don’t need to be a Tableau wiz to create compelling visualisations. Follow these 5 principles and give your insights the visuals they deserve!

In this article, I will use my 3-year experience as a Data Analyst to show you very simple ways to make your visualisations look more attractive, easier to read, and professional.

Let’s pretend we are creating an analysis for a shoe brand and the client wants a slide with the following information:

  • They want to know what is the overall purchase intention for their brand and if it increased vs. last year.
  • They also need to see the current purchase intention by store.
  • They were wondering if product unavailability deterred clients from wanting to purchase even if other methods were offered.
  • Finally, they were interested in figuring out what alternative methods were being offered and how this changed vs. last year.

Following the 5 principles I’ll introduce below, this is the slide I created:

As a perfectionist, I must point out that the slide above is loosely based on one I created for a real client but I had to change the colours to avoid using my employer’s branding. I’m not super happy with them as they are now, but it will serve the purpose for today. Needless to say, this is all mock data.

So, let’s review the principles and see what that slide would look like if it weren’t following them.

#1 Don’t underestimate whitespace

With datasets becoming richer and richer, Data Analysts are often able to extract so much insight for a report that it becomes a challenge not to overload the visualisation.

But trust me, whitespace is as important as the visualisations you include in your slide. The last thing you want is important information buried in a myriad of small tidbits, fun facts, and charts.

Here’s the same slide above but with almost no whitespace:

Unnecessarily large charts, granular details that the client didn’t ask for, and content very close to the borders of the slide. All this buried the key insights I wanted to transmit and made the slide very hard to read.

For example, in the unavailability by store, notice how the increase in Store 7 which was carefully highlighted in the

Andrea Leonel - Data Analyst

A Data Analyst, a music lover and a full-time traveler walk into a bar.