Best Practices for Data Visualisation

Good data visualisation requires appreciation and careful consideration of the technical aspects of data presentation. But it also involves a creative element. Authorial choices are made about the “story” we want to tell, and design decisions are driven by the need to convey that story most effectively to our audience. Software systems use default settings for most graphical elements. However, each visualisation has its own story to tell, and so we must actively consider and choose settings for the visualisation under construction.

This guide covers both aspects of data visualisation: the art and the science. It is written primarily for contributors to Royal Statistical Society publications – chiefly, Significance magazine, the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, and Real World Data Science – but the information and advice within will be of broad relevance and use to any data visualisation task.