Although what I am covering in this article might appear to be very basic but it is like a cherry on top, it helps make a viz very sleek and professional.
Thought to share those tricks with you after receiving some very positive feedback on my personal viz portfolio published in my blog from one of my followers. Have to admit that I do those steps (in no specific order) on autopilot for years now, I call them visualisation etiquette. Let me share them with you:
- Cover sheet: Regardless of whatever tool you are using (Tableau, Power BI, Excel or whatever), as long as you have many sheets in a report I would suggest having a cover sheet with company logo, viz title, department and contact person. It helps the audience know what to expect especially if the report is going external (Outside Department/Company).
- Sources of data: If you are using external data or different internal systems within a company, mention the source used at the footer of the viz. Your audience would want to know where did you get the data from.
- Creator: Have you been in a situation where a report is circulating around and no idea which department created it or which person within the team it belongs to? Sounds familiar? Make sure to put the creator whether department or person depending on relevance on the report/viz so others know who to contact with questions.
- Interaction guidance: Now lets use a scenario where using one of the great tools like Tableau, excel power pivot or Power BI you created a fancy interactive report with filters and interlinks…the question that is on the mind of some of your audience would be “what am I supposed to do with this report? How do I get the data I need?”. Would suggest having an interaction guide on the top of each viz to explain what the audience need to do to interact with the Viz. Something like a one-liner on the top of every page. If there are interlinked sheet maybe add an instruction sheet at the start of your report explaining that.
- Programme: With all the visualisation tools and the massive advance in the area, don’t expect everyone to be up to date. Tools like Excel Power Pivot, Power BI, Tableau, Data Studio, Looker and more are now available, if your audience need to download a software or an extension (Tableau Reader for example) you might want to make this clear on the email.
- Colours: Many visualisation tools have colour schemes, I normally pick the colour blind one at work or when presenting in conferences as not sure who would use my viz. You want to make sure everyone can read your great viz with ease and comfort. Have learned that the hard way have to admit.
- Simplicity: Have you come across complicated graphs and advanced statistics that were a bit challenging to understand straight away? The easier your viz, the better your message would land. If your viz is complicated the audience might switch off. If it your viz all singing all dancing it might draw away attention from your message.
Those are some suggestions and thoughts based on personal experience. Please let me know your experience and what other viz etiquette you follow!