Data Visualization for Dummies

Mico Yuk, Stephanie Diamond

Published by

Wiley

ISBN

9781118502891

RRP

£24.99

Reviewed by

Mehmet Hurer MBCS CITP CEng

Score

7 out of 10

The arrival of this book was very timely, as I sat at my desk contemplating how I was going to present some information in a spreadsheet to various audiences. Should I use bar charts, pie charts, 2D, 3D, and what about the supporting text, and what colours should I use for the message I wanted to convey? 

However, this book is not just about how to present information; it takes the reader back to basics, asking, for example, why information is being collected, so as to ensure that its value and potential, when analysed and presented correctly, is understood.

It also stresses the importance of considering one’s target audiences in order to understand what information should be presented and how.

Various data visualisation techniques are explored based on the type of information, including dashboards, gauges and ‘infographics’, whilst highlighting the need to be conscious of where the information is going to be displayed, such as on a browser or a mobile app. There is also an interesting chapter on how people digest data, and how this can be used to help determine how to present information.

In the main part of the book the author takes the reader through a structured way of creating data visualisation using a ‘storyboard’. This also includes a discussion on how to use colour and text, and the use of interactive features to allow for dynamic updates to the visualisation.

The book closes with some examples of real data visualisations, pitfalls for newbies and some further resources. More examples would have helped, as there were not many visualisation ideas that amazed or surprised me.

In summary, a good place to start if you are involved in capturing information with a view of presenting it to various audiences, but still leaves plenty of room for you to apply your own imagination.

Further information: Wiley

April 2014