Redesigning a bar chart using Edward Tufte’s principles

Data Visualization is challenging and rewarding. One of my favorite projects was designing an Email Analytics dashboard. Edward Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitive Information was super helpful.

Two weeks ago I created bar chart to visualize the number of times Jesus quoted from the Old Testament. I used a tool that produces noisy bar charts. As a challenge, I used Tufte’s principles to redesign it.


Steps taken to clean up the bar chart

  1. Removed the horizontal axis
  2. Changed grid from gray to white
  3. Moved the grid from the back of the bars to the top
  4. Flattened the chart to give it a modern look (not a Tufte principle)
  5. Moved labels to the bottom – I should have made them smaller

There is room for improvement but I think progress was made. Next week I’ll apply principles by Jacques Bertin to the chart.


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