Annoying Things Data Analysts Will Hear

Sun May 19 2024

Coworker: I hate this blue color scheme, you need to change it to something more green Me: Okay I changed it 1 day later…. Boss: Ugh I hate that green color, you need to change it to something more blue. Data visualization can be head-bangingly frustrating (to put it kindly). The people looking at your visualization will probably dislike it for a multitude of reasons. The color, the font, or even the damn name of your visualization will be scrutinized by a wide range of people. Your data will be questioned, your charts squinted at, and your soul crushed. Visualization is subjective by its nature. There is no red or green light to signal if your visualization is good. Whoever looks at it will have their own biases and will probably have their own opinions on how to improve it. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse. This is what makes data visualization annoying, but also why it can be so immensely rewarding. Data visualization is an art, and if you can let your creative juices flow you can make a piece of art. But, even if you create a beautiful piece it will still be critiqued. Even the Mona Lisa has critics claiming that they could do better. In my 5 years of visualizing data, I’ve come to realize that it’s easy to visualize data, but hard to visualize data well. You have the tools, the data, the charts, the colors, and all the other ingredients of a visualization and if one of them doesn’t perform, the whole visualization topples down into a jumble of well, that doesn’t look rights. Me: Here’s the dashboard that you’ve been asking me about. I put a lot of hours into and am pretty proud of it! Boss: It looks great. How can I export the data as .xlsx? Yes, yes, yes, some people will look at your visualization for a second, download the data and then spend the next hour analyzing it to get to the same analysis that was in your visualization to begin with. Those people (who are awful people) are not your target viewer of the visualization and they shouldn’t be either. Some people are visual learners and other aren’t. So not only do you have to compete with the people that critique your visualization, but you also need to dodge the people that just overall dislike data visualization. Target the people who will derive something from looking at your visualization. Easier said than done. So how can you make a visualization that will appease everyone? Short answer — you can’t. Longer answer — you can try and maybe get close. Longest answer — You need to make a data visualization that you are happy about. For all the reasons I mentioned above, you truly don’t know if people will like or hate your visualization, but if the data presented in the way that you have it makes sense to you, theres a good chance it’ll make sense to others. Thanks for reading! If you want to check out my data visualization platform where you can create visualizations and share with our rich community its right here!