Last summer, my husband was traveling for work and I had the house to myself for an entire week. I could’ve binge-watched Sex and the City or eaten crumbly crackers in bed, his one-and-only marriage deal breaker.
Instead, I designed my own chart taxonomy (while binge-watching Sex and the City and eating crumbly crackers, of course).
I sketched all the charts I use on a regular basis on 3.5 x 5 inch index cards:
Then, I sorted and grouped and sorted and grouped the index cards:
A week of sorting and grouping later, I realized my husband was about to return from his business trip. He probably wouldn’t want to come home to a living room covered in charts.
Crap! How was I going to store the schema I’d been thinking about all week?
I tried to squeeze my chart chooser onto a PowerPoint slide.
I tried to squeeze my thought process into mind mapping software.
Nothing worked. I couldn’t bring myself to create something static. I wanted to give you a chance to explore the charts for yourself.
Last fall, the Essentials website was born.
For the past eight months I’d only been sharing my chart chooser with workshop participants. Today I’m opening to site to everyone.
See the filters along the top? You might say, “Hey Ann, just show me the charts that are good for visualizing patterns over time.” You’ll see line charts, slope charts, and a variety of small multiples layouts.
Or, you might say, “Hey Ann, just show me the charts that are good for visualizing a dispersion, spread, or range of data.” You’ll see options like the histogram, population pyramid, or box-and-whisker plot.
Then, you can click on the chart icons that interest you and you’ll be led to a separate page. You’ll see descriptions of that chart type, and in most cases, links to examples and tutorials.
The photo carousel will also loop through examples of that chart in action:
The site’s not finished. It’ll never be finished.
I have no plans to add every single chart type known to mankind. I want to focus attention on the charts that give you the best bang for your buck — the essentials.
But I will continue adding descriptions, examples, and tutorials for the entirety of my career.
Enjoy the ride!
Want to learn more? Check out my chart choosing webinar on May 14 where we’ll discuss these styles plus qualitative displays, geographic maps, and more. Or, register for my four-week data visualization course which begins on June 1. Use code DATAVIZ50 for a $50 discount!