CHAPTER 6 Designing for the Audience

As a data visualization designer, you must know your audience if you want your work to be viewed, understood, appreciated, and potentially used as a basis for decision making. Along with the design skills you develop over time and the technical skills that are required to conduct the initial analysis, it is important to put yourself in the shoes of the audience and ask, “What do they need?”

As previously mentioned, stating the dashboard title in the form of a question, ideally a question the audience wants answered, is a great way to start as it will help focus the analysis and subsequent design. The audience comes in two forms:

  1. Those you already know, like your boss, your department, or your organization as a whole
  2. A completely unknown audience, for example, the people who come across the work you publish online

It is this latter audience that we design for in Makeover Monday. Not knowing who will see, consume, and interact with your visualizations presents its own set of challenges.

After reading this chapter, you will have strategies for:

  1. Creating an effective design
  2. Designing for mobile
  3. Using visual cues for additional information
  4. Using icons and shapes
  5. Storytelling
  6. Reviewing your work to improve its quality

Creating an Effective Design

The more you know about your audience and their preferences, the easier it will be to create an engaging design. If they prefer simple charts, create simple charts. If they prefer flashy and fancy ...

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