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You probably have seen some charts that seem to look okay, but there is something strange with them. They are either hard to understand or they deliver misleading insight. I guess each one of us has a chart like this in our portfolio.

I was going through my old work and, unfortunately, I came across … plenty of examples. So I decided to share some of the most common mistakes that I used to make, with some alternatives on how to avoid them.

But first, let’s take a step back and think about a good chart? Do you know what…


First of all, I have to disappoint you, there is no such thing as the perfect dashboard. With that out of the way, let me help you create a well-designed dashboard then.

10 Dashboard Design Principles

There are many types of dashboards based on role, type of displayed data, data area, data span, or even interactivity, but all of them have to follow these 10 rules.

1 | Consider how people read

Dashboards often need to present a large amount of information in a limited amount of space. The design should be intuitive and allow easy comparison — everything needs to be visible at a glance and properly allocated.

Make sure that the whole dashboard fits on a single screen.

The…


This week, I’d like to continue the topic of the misusage of the tables. I picked Pew Research Center’s table that shows the share of people from each country with a positive attitude toward the EU response to the pandemic. There are two data points — for 2020 and 2021 — and the information regarding the overall change of attitude.

It might seem straightforward — comparing with the last week’s data where I squeezed three tables into one chart — only a few numbers, so why even bother to visualize it?

Let’s do a quick test — do you know…


In general, even though tables seem simple on the surface, they are complex when it comes to the analysis. All because we process tables differently than graphs.

Tables interact with our verbal communication system, which means we actually read them as we would read the book. On the other hand, graphs interact with our visual system and we focus on analyzing patterns and shapes. Our visual system is much faster because we can process large quantities of information only by looking at them.

A few weeks ago I found this series of tables published on YouGov Instagram account. Each post…


Showing the wall of text is never a good idea — it’s hard to read, not to mention it’s simply boring. That’s why I’d like to show methods of spicing up the visuals without making them illegible. This time I’ll focus on ranking and in the upcoming weeks, I’ll cover two more tables.

The original visualization was done by YouGov Us and it shows the ranking of Taylor Swift’s albums. It’s based on a survey conducted among Americans who like this artist (side note: maybe that’s why the differences in scores are so slim). Each of the 9 albums was…


There is a lot of resources on how to design a good map but what about using other types of geographical data such as flags or countries’ outlines? You may be tempted to exhilarate the visualization by adding some color or graphics. The problem is the average person is not able to recognize countries by their flag or shape.

I have a quick test: do you know what country is presented on a cover picture? I did this test on my husband and he said “easy, it’s Uruguay”, well it’s not, it’s Zimbabwe. …


A few days ago I came across one of the GfK reports on FMCG e-commerce and the charts dedicated to e-commerce buyers got my attention. At first glance, it looked okay —quite minimalistic with good visual hierarchy but the longer I look at it, the odder it seems. First of all, the chart is unnecessarily complicated, the usage of both stacked bar chart and grouped bar chart brings nothing but confusion.

Original dataviz by GfK


Line chart — best chart choice for time series
Line chart — best chart choice for time series

This week I decided to makeover a commonly overused chart in a market research field — a stacked column chart for time series. It took me a couple of years and a lot of bad chart choices to come up with the conclusion that the line chart is probably the best and the simplest way of presenting a time series.

The chart I picked up is from one of the latest Kantar reports and it shows a change in GB spend on six categories over the course of 2 years. The main purpose of the chart is to show the…


Incremental Improvements — Less is more
Incremental Improvements — Less is more

This week I came across Eurostat’s Instagram account, which is a resourceful place when you are looking for European statistics. The one visualization particularly caught my eye because of the usage of quite an uncommon chart — a combined chart consisted of a column chart and some variation of a dot plot. The chart itself is about changes in the employment rate in the EU during the pandemic and it shows three different levels of data — a total change for each of the countries, change for each gender within the country, and an aggregated data for the EU.

When…


Multiple slopegraphs — chart choice for better insight from your data
Multiple slopegraphs — chart choice for better insight from your data

This week I’ll cover the advantages of grouping multiple line charts into few slopegraphs. I picked up the visualization by PEW Research Center that covers the perception of criteria for national belonging among 4 countries.

The visualization presents the change that happened among these countries over the course of four years. It consists of a matrix of 16 different line charts that focus on the change of one criterion in one country. Because everything is kept separate you read this chart almost like a table — you process the numbers instead of taking advantage of visual representation. …

Weronika Gawarska-Tywonek

Data Visualization Designer | Tableau Associate | Sociologist with passion for aesthetics

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