Feb 28 2023

Data Visualization: Best Practices and Tools

Tobias Larson

Career Advice

Data visualization is an essential tool for organizations and individuals who work with data. It helps to present complex data in a simple, understandable and visually appealing manner. It is an art and science that requires creativity, technical skills, and knowledge of best practices and tools. In this blog post, we will discuss data visualization best practices and tools to create effective visualizations.


Best Practices


Know your audience: Understanding the target audience is crucial in designing effective visualizations. Consider the level of knowledge and familiarity with the data, the intended message, and the preferred visual format.


Keep it simple: Avoid clutter and unnecessary visual elements that can distract the audience from the main message. Use clear labels and simple colors that are easy to distinguish.


Use appropriate chart types: Select the chart type that best represents the data and message. Bar charts, line charts, and pie charts are commonly used, but other types such as heat maps, scatter plots, and histograms can be effective for specific data sets.


Highlight important data points: Use color, size, and shape to highlight key data points. This can draw attention to important trends, outliers, or anomalies.


Provide context: Include relevant information that provides context for the data, such as timeframes, geographic locations, or benchmarks. This helps the audience understand the significance of the data and its implications.


Use storytelling techniques: Use a narrative approach to tell a story with the data. Begin with an introduction that captures the audience's attention and leads to the main message. Use visuals to support the story and end with a conclusion that summarizes the main points.




Tableau: Tableau is a powerful data visualization tool that allows users to create interactive dashboards, charts, and maps. It offers a user-friendly interface, drag-and-drop functionality, and a wide range of visualization options.


Power BI: Power BI is a Microsoft product that enables users to create interactive reports, dashboards, and charts. It integrates with Microsoft Excel, SQL Server, and other data sources, making it easy to connect to and analyze data.


D3.js: D3.js is a JavaScript library that allows users to create custom data visualizations. It offers a wide range of chart types, including bar charts, line charts, and scatter plots, as well as more complex visualizations such as network diagrams and geographic maps.


Google Data Studio: Google Data Studio is a free tool that allows users to create interactive reports and dashboards. It integrates with other Google products, such as Google Sheets and Google Analytics, making it easy to analyze and visualize data.


Infogram: Infogram is a cloud-based data visualization tool that offers a wide range of templates and chart types. It allows users to import data from various sources, including spreadsheets, and create custom visualizations that can be embedded on websites or shared on social media.




Data visualization is a crucial component of data analysis and communication. By following best practices and using the right tools, organizations and individuals can create effective visualizations that convey their message clearly and persuasively. Whether you're a business analyst, a marketer, or a researcher, data visualization can help you make sense of complex data and communicate your insights effectively. Experiment with different tools and techniques to find the ones that work best for you, and always keep in mind the importance of clear communication and audience engagement.

Tags: data visualization, best practices, tools, audience, simplicity, storytelling, context.