Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
A Quick Look at Dashboard Design Principles
Figure 1-6 illustrates the impact that chart junk can have on the ability to effectively communicate
your data. Notice how convoluted and cramped the data looks in the top chart.
The bottom chart actually contains the same data. Yet, it more effectively presents the core message
that driver registrations in Texas rose from approximately 10.5 million to almost 17 million. This
message was diluted in the top chart by excess clutter. So you can see from this simple example how
your chart dramatically improves by simply removing elements that don’t directly contribute to the
Figure 1-6: Charts with too many chart elements can become convoluted and hard to read. Removing the
unnecessary elements clarifies the message.
Here are a few ways to avoid chart junk and ensure that your charts clearly present your data.
➤ Remove gridlines: Gridlines (both vertical and horizontal) are almost always unnecessary.
The implied reason for gridlines is that they help to visually gauge the value represented by
each data point. The truth is, however, people typically gauge the value of a data point by
comparing its position to the other data points in the chart. So gridlines become secondary
reference points that simply take up ink.
➤ Remove borders: You’ll find that eliminating borders and frames gives your charts a cleaner
look and helps you avoid the dizzying lines you get when placing multiple charts with
borders on a single dashboard. Instead of borders, make use of the white space between the
charts as implied borders.