CHAPTER 8 Iterate to Improve

Data visualizations are never “done”; you merely get to a point where you think they are “good enough” and consider them complete. This chapter will provide advice about iterating through your work, giving and receiving feedback, and the benefits of iteration.

Why Iterate?

In Chapter 6, we provided tips for identifying your audience and getting to know their needs. Once you have identified those needs, you should generate lots of ideas, and then it is time to build a prototype. You then review or test the design with your audience, get feedback, and iterate on your work. Once you have a new prototype built, the process starts over again.

The earlier you start this feedback loop, the more cost-effective it will be. Working through this feedback loop with the audience early is also beneficial because they will understand that it is only a prototype, so they will focus more on the functionality than the design, thus resulting in a more usable product in the end.

Agile Data Visualization

Nearly every data analysis or dashboard design project starts like Figure 8.1.1

Diagram shows horizontal lines with five different points marked on it as define data requirements, load data into warehouse, document dashboard requirements, release dashboard for feedback, and final release.

Figure 8.1 A waterfall approach to data visualization projects.

This is often called waterfall development; that is, you do not start the next process until the previous stage has finished, continuing until you get to the end. This is great if everything in the project is perfect, but ...

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