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Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

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chapter 2 choosing an effective visual

There are many different graphs and other types of visual displays of information, but a handful will work for the majority of your needs. When I look back over the 150+ visuals that I created for workshops and consulting projects in the past year, there were only a dozen different types of visuals that I used (Figure 2.1). These are the visuals we’ll focus on in this chapter.

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Figure 2.1 The visuals I use most

Simple text

When you have just a number or two to share, simple text can be a great way to communicate. Think about solely using the number—making it as prominent as possible—and a few supporting words to clearly make your point. Beyond potentially being misleading, putting one or only a couple of numbers in a table or graph simply causes the numbers to lose some of their oomph. When you have a number or two that you want to communicate, think about using the numbers themselves.

To illustrate this concept, let’s consider the following example. A graph similar to Figure 2.2 accompanied an April 2014 Pew Research Center report on stay-at-home moms.

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Figure 2.2 Stay-at-home moms original graph

The fact that you have some numbers ...

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