Data visualisationfor presentations
May 29, 2008 8:56 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for some good data visualisation books, tutorials and maybe software

In my work I need to present my mates with lots of statistics mostly very simple but still I always need it to be as flashier and as simpler looking as possible. I am using Excel which kind of helps but not much since I am not always sure how I want to present the info and how to do it with Excel. I've seen there are some good data visualisation apps there but are mostly for dealing with complex databases and stuff.
What I am really looking for is something to guide me, help me make better visions for my simple statistics with presentation purposes.

I see some very good examples here - .
posted by tseo to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Edward Tufte. Buy all four books.

So far, everyone I have loaned these books to has come back after devouring them over the weekend to show me the nifty and insightful visualization they've made that has solved some longstanding problem of theirs.

He runs an interesting forum, too.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 9:09 AM on May 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

For software, take a look at Processing.
posted by lunchbox at 10:42 AM on May 29, 2008

I second fantabulous timewaster. Moreover, depending on where you live, you should attend one of Tufte's seminars. It's probably tax deductible.

Finally,remember all the rules of 6. Especially that 1 in 6 men is colorblind!
posted by OlderThanTOS at 10:54 AM on May 29, 2008

Seconding all the Tufte books, of course. Esp. his rants on Powerpoint. Also, check out blogs like Information Aesthetics.
posted by fatllama at 11:06 AM on May 29, 2008

Maybe the blogs on this list can give you some ideas.
posted by Who_Am_I at 11:11 AM on May 29, 2008

Nthing Tufte, though the last book "Beautiful Evidence" is his least succesful.
For software, use Illustrator or Freehand. They both can generate simple line, bar, etc. charts, and allow you a level of control over type, color and line that dedicated statistics programs do not.
Run away from anything with pre-made templates (i.a.: Excel).
posted by signal at 12:17 PM on May 29, 2008

If you're on a Mac and already know Python, NodeBox is a nice alternative to Processing.
posted by thisjax at 12:24 PM on May 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Read the first and second Tufte books:
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and Envisioning Information

Read the third if you're bored and don't bother with the fourth (though the section on sparklines is interesting).

Excel should be fine for your needs, just make sure to stick with the bar or line graphs and change the default colors/text placement, etc.
posted by bumpybear at 9:49 PM on May 29, 2008

Look at the Gallery of Data Visualization: The Best and Worst of Statistical Graphics, which has some good examples of how to present data (surprisingly, given the cheesy look of the website).
posted by lukemeister at 9:58 PM on May 29, 2008

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