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8 common myths about data visualization

Nick Desbarats, Practical Reporting, talks about why bad charts can happen to good people - and what you can do about it.Nick Desbarats, Practical Reporting, talks about why bad charts can happen to good people - and what you can do about it.“Our ultimate goal when creating charts isn’t, as many people assume, to find the best way to visualize the data. … It’s also not to enable people to perceive values as accurately and precisely as possible. … Instead, I think our ultimate goal should be to design a chart that best serves the purpose for which we decided to create a chart in the first place,” explains independent dashboard design educator Nick Desbarats in a recent livestream, which can now be viewed in its entirety on demand.

In his keynote talk, Nick covers eight common data viz myths, as well as some interesting topics including:

  • Obviously – and unobviously – bad chart designs.           
  • How we should – and shouldn’t – evaluate the effectiveness of a chart.
  • Shifting our thinking about charts from what they are to what they are for.
  • Brain science and how our design choices subtly influence how people perceive data.
  • The skills you need to make great data visualizations.

(By the way, Nick covers these eight myths and more in the Practical Charts course he offers. If you're interested in taking an online workshop with Nick on practical charts and dashboards, here are the details.)

Following his keynote talk, Nick and panelists Chris Chen of W.L. Gore and our own Xan Gregg (R&D director of the visualization group at JMP) discuss best practices in data visualization and how scientists and engineers can embrace these concepts to transform their ability to make discoveries and inform strategic decisions. Here's a preview of the webinar