Dashboards & Data Visualization With Color

11/23/15

Are you a numbers person like me?  Do you struggle with what color to put on your dashboards and data visualizations?   If you are like me, you hate decorating your house because color overwhelms you.  Unlike colors, numbers don’t have 500 shades and I like that.  So how do those of us who seem to lack a right brain create good looking effective data visualizations & dashboards with color?TM1 licenses & Workspace Dashboards

Let me introduce you to a new book “Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals” by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic.

As Business Analytics Coach at Lodestar Solutions, our Destination Dashboard workshop is designed to help clients define and get buy-in as to what goes on a dashboard.  This has been a workshop clients have loved but Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic’s new book & workshops take data visualization coaching to a new level as she teaches you color and style.   She starts with understanding the situational context including your audience, tone, and communication mechanism then leads you through effective visuals. In chapter four, she coaches the reader on how to strategically use color in your data visualization and dashboards.   She presents 7 lessons in using color to communicate with data.

  1. Color grabs attention
  2. Color can signal where to look
  3. Color should be used sparingly
  4. Color can carry quantitative value
  5. Color carries tone and meaning
  6. Not everyone sees color
  7. Color should be used consistently

For more information on this, checkout her video “Being Clever With Color” and feel free to check out her website: www.storytellingwithdata.com.

I love that fact she highlights that some people don’t see color. Have you been considering that in your visualization designs? For many of us highly analytic people that would prefer to communicate in binary or hexadecimal, she provides a great guide for us to think like a true dashboard and data visualization designer.

Nussbaumer Knaflic’s book does not dive deep into what makes a memorable visualization.  According to Hanspeter Pfister, a Wang Professor of Computer Science at Harvard SEAS, “A visualization will be instantly and overwhelmingly more memorable if it incorporates an image of a human-recognizable object—if it includes a photograph, people, cartoons, logos—any component that is not just an abstract data visualization,” “What makes a data visualization memorable?”.   Her teachings are very effective.  How to create memorable visualization would be a great topic for Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic’s next book.

My recommendation is that you go order “Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals” by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic to learn how to create quality data visualization & dashboards with color .  To receive more information on dashboards or how to make yourself a more effective Business Analytics leader in your organization, we urge you to join the Lodestar community at www.LodestarSolutions.com. Members will gain access to our private library and educational newsletters.

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