Back in 2010, I was giving a workshop on interactive data visualization in Lima, Perú, discussing whether a dataset has a unique or at least an ideal way to be visualized.
For a simple data structure — a list of some hundreds of numbers, for instance — around half of 20 participants were convinced that there’s one way that is clearly better in communicating the data, regardless of the unit of the values, their range, meaning, context and possible aim of the visualization.
This discussion actually came out as a consequence of another idea, which resonated with most participants, as well: that there should be a guide that indicates the best way to visualize each possible dataset.
So I proposed the following exercise:
let’s try to find all possible ways to visualize a ludicrously small data set of two numbers. Afterwords, let’s try to pick the best visualization.
With such a... keep reading