CHAPTER 3

TWO QUESTIONS ➔ FOUR TYPES

A SIMPLE TYPOLOGY FOR CHART MAKING

IF A FRIEND SAID TO YOU, “Pack your bags, we’re going on a trip,” what would you do next? Here’s what you wouldn’t do: You wouldn’t say “Okay, great,” grab a suitcase, and start filling it with clothes. How could you? You have so many questions: Where are we going? For how long? How are we getting there? Why are we taking this trip? Where will we stay when we get there? You can’t pack until you know what you’re packing for.

But when it comes to information visualization, the impulse is to immediately choose a chart type and click a button to create it. You should resist this impulse and instead start by thinking about the questions that will make packing easier later on. ...

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