Chapter 5 Attention to Detail

Among all of the skills required to be a good data analyst, attention to detail ranks near the top. When you work with data, you cannot afford to overlook details that point to outliers or anomalies or interesting trends and patterns. Paying attention to all characteristics of the data you are working with and how it is presented is critical for success. This chapter looks at the various parts that come together in a great visualization, demonstrating attention to the finest detail.

We encourage people to treat Makeover Monday as a fun project and a testing ground for their ideas and creativity. Every visualization they publish becomes part of their portfolio and reflects their abilities as analysts. This does not mean that every visualization has to be an outstanding, in-depth, comprehensive analysis. What it does mean is that when you pay attention to detail, it shows.

It can be obvious to an audience when care has been taken during analysis and design to ensure that it is supported with facts, laid out in a logical order, and allows the audience to gain insights or to be informed. Taking care means that various aspects of the overall design have been considered, a thorough spell check has been done, formatting is consistent, and attributions have been given for images and data sources.

Consider Figure 5.1, a visualization by Michael Mixon of historical results from Le Tour de France.

Figure 5.1 Visual history of Le Tour de France.

At first ...

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