The key points to remember from this chapter are as follows:
- Show change. If you want to explain or persuade your audience, if you want to change their thinking, you need to show change. The problem with most diagrams is that they don't have any juxtaposition within and thus don't go anywhere. Try drawing things the way they work, not the way they're structured. Replace organization charts with organigraphs.
- Don't shy away from simple solutions. Don't be afraid to use simple comparisons like Venn diagrams and 2 × 2 matrixes. They can be powerful, but the trick is to have a real (not an imaginary) opposition within. But avoid visualizations for the sake of visualizations.
- Think! Before designing a data visualization chart, ask yourself: “What am I trying to say exactly?” Let the chart demonstrate this and only this idea. Get rid of chartjunk: unnecessary labels, legends, backgrounds, and so on. Don't succumb to default settings; they are far from optimal!
- Don't avoid the obvious. The 20th century has seen a lot of tricks with data visualizations. Please don't try to fool your audience with fancy charts or uncommon comparisons. Always try obvious visualizations first. If there's an elephant in the room, deal with it.