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Data Visualisation Design Principles and Best Practice


Data Foundation

  • Types of data
  • Structure within and between records
  • Data preprocessing: ETL (Extract, Transform, and Loading)

Designing Charts to Enlighten

  • What we mean by an enlighten graph
  • JunkCharts: Understand the limitation of Excel charts
  • Principles of Graphic Design
  • Semiology of graphics
  • Useful Charts for Business Intelligence: Histogram, Line Graph, Bar Chart, Boxplot, Dotplot, Pareto Chart, Scatterplots, Ternary Plots

Human Perception and Information Processing

  • What Is Perception?
  • Physiology
  • Perceptual Processing
  • Perception in Visualization
  • Metrics

Perceptual and Design Principles for Effective Visual Analytics

  • System, Color, Gestalt Laws, Pre-attentive processing
  • Representation: The encoding of value and relation
  • Visual Perception and Quantitative Communication

Hands-on Session

  • Visualising and analysing bivariate data
  • Interactive visual analytics with Graph Builder

Daily Readings

Day Time required Readings
Monday 30 minutes 7 Basic Rules for Making Charts and Graphs [1]

Quantitative Literacy Across the Curriculum [2]

Tuesday 30 minutes Tapping the Power of Visual Perception [3]

Sometimes We Must Raise Our Voices [4]

Wednesday 30 minutes Best Practices for Understanding Quantitative Data [5]

Data Visualization: Rules for Encoding Values in Graph [6]

Thursday 3 hours Lesson discussion and hands-on exercise
Friday 30 minutes

Choosing Colors for Data Visualization [7]

Line Graphs and Irregular Intervals: An Incompatible Partnership [8]


Robbins, Naomi B. (2005) Creating More Effective Graphs, John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey, USA.

Edward R. Tufte (2001) The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (2nd Edition), Graphics press, Connecticut, USA. Chapter 4-9

Stephen Few (2004) Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Englighten, Analytical Press, Oakland, USA.

Wong, Dona M. (2010) The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. New York.


Discussion Lesson 02