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Know your problem
Know your data
Visualise your data
7. Visualise the data visualization process
Work with your chart
Check yourself


All right! We understand our data and we know how to classify it! We can now consider the process of data visualization.

Before you begin any data visualization project, go through each step in your own mind. Understand what each one will involve.

This is the data visualization process:

  • Step 0. Get to know your data. This step is obvious in most situations but you should recognize that knowing what data you're working with is actually a step in any data analysis or visualization.
  • Step 1. Recognize the problem you're trying to illustrate. Find and ask questions about your data. Depending on the questions you're trying to ask you'll choose appropriate chart type.
  • Step 2. Know the chart type. Based on the type of data you're working with and your desired goal, choose a chart to graphically represent your data. This will let you see how the data is constructed.
  • Step 3. Prepare your data. Each chart type and each question require a different preparation of the data. Decide how to group or categorize data to make the best presentation of the facts.
  • Step 4. Sketch your chart. Make a sketch of your chart to know the goal you're working towards. Put the data into your chart, making sure that all values are properly and accurately represented.
  • Step 5. Plot your chart. Create the actual chart using the R programming language.
  • Step 6. Verify your chart. Is your chart accurate? Does it answer the questions from Step 1?

Follow this visualization process in your own work – you'll soon create valuable charts. After awhile, you'll find that you can skip Step 2; you'll automatically understand the chart you need based on the questions in Step 1.

Let's go through each of these steps individually.