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The Top 7 Myths That Lead to Really Bad Graphs

Nick Desbarats, Practical Reporting, LLC


In this tech brief, Nick Desbarats, Practical Reporting LLC, shares decades of data visualization best practices he's learned as an independent consultant and educator.

During the course of his career, Nick has taught data visualization skills to thousands of professionals in organizations like Bloomberg, the UN and NASA. Through these experiences, Nick has noticed many important misconceptions around fundamental questions, such as:

» What are charts for?
» What’s a “good chart”?
» What makes one chart better than another?
» What does it mean to “learn data visualization”?

It’s hard to design truly effective charts if one doesn’t have good answers to these basic questions in mind.

In this brief, we’ll review seven of the most common misconceptions or myths that people often have regarding these fundamental questions. When these myths are dispelled, not only will your charts be more effective, but you’ll also find it considerably easier to design them.


About the Author

Nick Desbarats is an independent data visualization and dashboard design educator, author and consultant. He is the first and only educator authorized by Stephen Few to teach his foundational workshops and has trained thousands of professionals in a dozen countries at organizations such as NASA, Bloomberg and the United Nations. He is also writing two new books, Practical Charts and Practical Dashboards.

More information about Nick’s books, articles and training workshops can be found on the website of his consultancy, Practical Reporting.

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