Believe it or not, making charts isn’t that simple. It requires careful planning if you want to make them effective.
While using a graph maker can make the process easier and faster, it doesn’t guarantee great results unless you know your way around it. With that, you also have to know the do’s and don’ts of chart making.
Check out our quick guide below:
Highlight the most important parts.
Charts are supposed to convey your data in an easy way. If you load them with too much information, they may end up confusing your audience. They may even find your presentation boring. Remember, humans have a short attention span.
Try to simplify less important details and highlight the most important or the most relevant pieces of information. You can use different colors to show which parts your audience needs to focus on. Another trick is to use images and icons.
Charts can be boring, particularly if you are presenting a lot of data. To get people’s attention, try to be as creative as possible.
Keep the bar lengths clean by putting value labels on the bars. You can also rotate the bars if the labels for the categories are too long.
Use the right chart.
There are different chart types and each one serves a unique purpose. For example, if you are presenting ordinal data, you may want to consider using a pie chart. For nominal data, a bar chart is the most ideal type of chart.
Venngage has a wide array of templates that you can use to make different types of graphs. It’s intuitive interface makes it easier for you to customize them depending on your needs.
Check for readability.
After finalizing your design, you need to make sure that everything is easy to understand. As a visual aid, your chart needs to be easy to read and comprehend at a glance.
Also, try to avoid crowding your chart with too much information. For example, if you are presenting multiple categories, use a horizontal bar chart. This will make your chart easy to understand even without tilting one’s head.
Ask for other people’s opinion.
Working on a chart for a long time can leave your eyes feeling tired. This can make you prone to making mistakes. You might even overlook important data.
Considering this, it’s a good idea to ask someone to check your chart. Having a fresh set of eyes to see what you’ve accomplished can help make sure that you didn’t miss anything.
Stick with simple animations.
Your chart’s purpose is to present important data. There’s no need to fill it with so many complicated animations that have nothing to do with the information you’re presenting.
As much as possible, add simple graphics. For example, you can use wiping motions to get your audience to look at a specific area of your chart.
Sort your data.
This will make it easy for your audience to do comparisons. They won’t have to do visual math or be forced to make the extra calculation just to get your point.
Plus, not everyone is good at remembering or processing information while making comparisons.
Double-check your data.
Mistakes can happen when you’re making your chart. With this, try to do a final check before you present your data. Look for mistakes in numbers, labels, and images in your chart.
Avoid using more than 6 colors.
Although colors are helpful in highlighting important data, you should try to keep your chart simple. Try to use no more than six colors.
This way, you won’t be overwhelming your audience. It’s hard to digest information when there are so many colors to differentiate.
Apart from that, you should also consider those people with color blindness. They may have a hard time differentiating one color from another.
Don’t add too many elements.
Charts are supposed to be easy to understand. Your audience should be able to process data visually easily with your chart. Adding too many elements beats that purpose.
Don’t mix styles.
Charts are effective when comparing data if you keep the same chart format throughout the presentation. Use the same axes, colors, and labels even if you are using multiple charts. Consistency makes charts effective.
Don’t skip important data.
Your chart should have all the important information. Don’t sacrifice them when you make your final edits.
One way to know if a piece of information is important is to determine its effect on your overall goal. If it contributes to the purpose of your chart, don’t delete it.
If a piece of data isn’t that important, use a dull color so it won’t pull your audience’s attention from where you want them to focus.
Don’t use acronyms.
You want your chart to be clear. And with that, you have to avoid using acronyms.
Not everyone in your audience knows what they mean. They may end up interpreting a piece of data differently and that can cause confusion.
Be direct and use clear language. Make sure that everyone is able to understand it.