A chart is a data visualization tool. It is used to present most forms of data into graphic design so that the relationship (or lack thereof) between two or more things can be better understood. They can be added to reports, letters, business proposals, cards, and different kinds of printed or digital documents to help tell a story better or to drive home a point.
The best and most effective sample charts are those that are accurate, informative, and visually appealing. Shared below are best practices when it comes to chart-making. Study them well to make even more effective chart designs.
1. Use The Right Chart
Different types of charts are used to present different kinds of data. For instance, research data from client satisfaction surveys or questionnaires are called nominal data since they represent an arbitrary scale. It is best to use basic bar charts for them. Ordinal data, or data obtained from sorting things into categories, are best visualized using pie charts or bar charts.
Use line charts if you are representing countable yet related measurements. Discrete organizational data, or those that are fixed amounts or units, are best represented using bar charts, arrays, or pie charts. Know what kind of information you want to simplify and/or correlate. And then, choose the right chart type based on this information.
2. Use Color To Differentiate Variables
Use color to help distinguish the different variables used in your chart. However, you must not use more than six colors in one chart since this can make the document appear too cluttered. To create a more coherent visual look for any chart, stick with complementary colors.
For example, when making workflow charts and process charts, you need to use different colors to distinguish different parts of a process, event, or action. Anyone reading a properly colored flow chart can then easily determine at which part of the process he/she is on.
3. Always Include Explanations
Captions or brief descriptions help make understanding a chart easier. It also guides the reader’s train of thought, especially when they do not know the context of what they are looking at.
4. Keep It Simple
When it comes to chart design, it is best to opt for clean and simple design themes. If you need to embed your chart to a document or project presentation, choose a design theme that matches the target document.
5. Use Description Labels
Do not forget to label your basic chart and its variables correctly. Use simple terms that accurately describe the variable/s. If your bar and line charts already have corresponding labels on its x and y axes, you do not have to add labels on the graph itself.
6. Source From Accurate Data
Any chart is only as good as its source data. This applies to whether you are creating complicated Gantt charts to simple seating charts and chore charts. Double-check your files and raw data to ensure their validity and accuracy. If you are making your company’s organizational chart, for example, you may need to ask for the list of your management team along with their right designations and name spellings.