The Best Graph

Conveying information is a bit of an art and science. Many of us have written reports, graphs, charts, etc. at some point in our career. We’ve likely created some good ones and some bad ones that our clients love or hate. Perhaps if you’re like me, you make a small attempt and then ask someone else to clean it up for you.

However, visualizations are important. In the modern world, many people want a visualization instead of a table of data, or at least alongside a table. That means we want to ensure we are conveying information well and not just picking the prettiest picture.

One interesting thing to consider is how different types of graphs affect how we process information. There was a post from Madiera Data that looked at how different graphs helped someone analyze the data. It starts with bar graphs, which have been very popular in the last few years. They are appearing in lots of business dashboards, news articles, and more. They can be useful in some situations, but not all. Especially when trying to compare the different segments.

Instead, other visualizations can be better. The article shows table graphs are working well. I conducted my own experiment with visuals, and I found a line graph was easier to use. However, that was for my data. Your data might need different visuals if you use it differently.

I don’t think there is a best graph, but there can be a best graph for a particular data set and a particular client(s). The way someone makes decisions based on a visual could dictate what works best. That’s my advice: work with your clients.

For good general advice, I think you should lean on, Meagan, and resources such as Edward Tufte, who have spent a lot of time thinking, experimenting, and understanding how to convey information visually. You could learn a lot from them.

Steve Jones

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About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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1 Response to The Best Graph

  1. Pingback: Using ChatGPT for Writing | Voice of the DBA

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