A graphlick showing mortgage prices
Organizing the bookshelves

Who are you talking to?

Reader Daniel L. points us to this "dashboard" of statistics concerning downloads of a piece of software presumably called "maven". This sort of presentation has unfortunately become standard fare.


Daniel was shocked by the pie chart. Just for laughs, here is the pie chart:

Something else is worth noting -- ever wondered who the chart designer is talking to?

Is it an accountant who cares about every single download (thus needing the raw data)?

Is it a product manager who cares about the current run rates, and the mix of components downloaded?

Is it an analyst who is examining trends over time, aggregate of all components?


In other words, the first order of business is to identify the user. 


Colleen Deborah Collins

So when you say the first order of business is to identify the user, you mean the person looking at the chart? ie: accountant = downloads/dollars; pm= run rates/type of download; etc.?

This chart looks like a hodgepodge of colors and downloads but I don't really "get" anything from it. I see your point!


Good point. Visual data is just another form of communication, so can be analyzed, modeled and/or planned using a simple communication diagram. "Who's the audience for this?" is a key question, along with "What's the message we're sending, and what outcome do we want?", "What medium are we using?", "Who's sending the message?" and "What's the context/environment for this communication?"

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