“Many in the design community understand that design must convey the essence of a device's operation; the way it works; the possible actions that can be taken; and, through feedback, just what it is doing at any particular moment. Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating.”
Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things
The main purpose behind any of your data visualization efforts should be to help consumers understand and learn from the data. In other words, effective communication is the primary goal of your visual creations.
As you've seen in previous chapters, developing simple and successful fixed tables and charts requires knowledge, skill, and practice, but can provide substantive illumination of a topic, issue, or problem if executed correctly. In most cases—probably 95 percent of the time—these fixed views are all that is needed to achieve the goal of communication. There are situations, however, when static views of data are either insufficient or just not practical, requiring the move to a more dynamic medium to help consumers explore the messages the data has to offer. This chapter helps you understand when the move to interactive visualizations makes sense and introduces you to some of the resources and techniques that will help you craft effective messages, dashboards, and exploration tools.