An Excerpt from The Master: A Handbook for Service Designers. (Available soon.)

Numeric or quantitative results are opportunities to tell powerful narratives, foremost expert on visualizing information Edward Tufte, says. Tufte, a statistician and artist, has written, designed, and self-published four books on data visualization including Beautiful Evidence, a well-respected tome on visualizing numerical findings.

Tufte’s principles serve as a guide for how to accurately portray data using visual elements. One of the biggest violations is scaling data results, including line charts, disproportionately to fit a space.

Or, when values are tightly packed in one area, and sparse in another, there is a desire and tendency to spread things out evenly. In each case, this can lead to a false impression of the data, and incorrect conclusions.

These are Tufte’s 6 principles:

1. Comparisons:  Show data by comparisons (bar charts and the like) to depict contrasts and differences between dependent variables.

2. Causality:  Demonstrate how one or more independent variables impact or influence dependent variables.

3. Multivariate: Various data are combined so an audience can easily interpret an otherwise complex narrative.

4. Integration:  Incorporate various modes of information (texts, maps, calculations, diagrams, etc.), to show evidence of source data-to-findings. 

5. Documentation:  For credibility, include attribution, detailed titles, and measurements (scales).

6. Context: Describe or depict the before and after state. Show trend lines to hint at results in the future.


Available Courses

SIGN UP TODAY! Use promo code START and receive a 10% discount.

The Apprentice
Learn what makes a service successful. The Apprentice introduces service design, the role of a service designer, some of the popular tools, and includes ideation models for coming up with new services. Click here to sign up »

The Journeyman
Learn how to use an Influence Model, a Journey Map, a Blueprint and Touchpoints — the common tools of service design. The Journeyman includes sequential, step-by-step instructions along with case studies. Click here to sign up »

The Master
Learn to prototype a service, work with feedback, diagnose service problems, recover services and test and measure user satisfaction. The Master is the only service design course of its type that helps service designers take their designs and completed services to greater success. Click here to sign up »