Data Visualisation – Best Practice, Tools & Software


Data visualisation is the process of turning raw data into meaningful insights through charts, graphs, and other visual representations.  As business analysts we know that strong data visualisation skills are key to communicating effective insights to stakeholders.  Here we take a high-level look at data visualisation best practice some of the tools to consider.


Best Practice

Choose the right type of visualisation:

  • The type of visualisation you choose should be based on the nature of the data and the message you want to convey. Bar charts, line charts, scatter plots, and heat maps are just a few examples of the many types of visualisations that are available.

Keep it simple:

  • Your visualisation should be easy to understand at a glance. Avoid cluttering your visualisation with too much information, and focus on communicating the most important insights.

Use color wisely:

  • Color can be used to highlight important information, but it can also be overused. Use a limited color palette and make sure that the colors you choose are easy to distinguish.

Label axes and use titles:

  • Make sure that your visualisation is properly labeled, including axis labels and a descriptive title. This will help ensure that viewers understand what they are looking at.

Use appropriate scales:

  • The scale of your visualisation should be appropriate for the data you are presenting. This may include using logarithmic scales, percentages, or other scaling methods.

Provide context:

  • When presenting data, it is important to provide context to help viewers understand what the data means. This may include providing historical data, comparing data to benchmarks or industry standards, or including annotations.

Test and iterate:

  • Before finalising your visualisation, test it with a sample audience to ensure that it is easy to understand and effectively communicates your message. Iterate as needed based on feedback.


Tools & Software

When it comes to tools and software there is no shortage of options.   From simple spreadsheet software to more advanced data visualisation platforms there’s something for everyone.  Here are some of the more popular options:


Microsoft Excel:

  • Microsoft Excel is a commonly used spreadsheet program that includes built-in charting capabilities, making it easy to create basic visualisations.


  • Tableau is a popular data visualisation platform that allows users to create interactive dashboards, charts, and maps. It offers a wide range of features, including data blending, forecasting, and advanced analytics.

Power BI:

  • Power BI is a business analytics service by Microsoft that allows users to create interactive reports and dashboards. It offers a range of features, including data visualisation, data modeling, and data transformation.

Google Charts:

  • Google Charts is a free tool that allows users to create simple visualisations, such as bar charts, line charts, and pie charts. It integrates with other Google tools, such as Google Sheets and Google Analytics.


  • QlikView is a business intelligence and data visualisation tool that offers powerful data analytics capabilities. It allows users to create interactive dashboards and reports, and offers a range of data visualisation options. QlikView is available as an on-premises solution.


  • Domo is a cloud-based business intelligence platform that offers data visualisation tools, along with other business analytics capabilities. It offers a range of pre-built connectors to popular data sources, and allows users to create interactive dashboards and reports.

Google Data Studio:

  • Google Data Studio is a free data visualisation tool that allows users to create interactive reports and dashboards using data from a range of sources, including Google Analytics, Google Sheets, and more. It offers a drag-and-drop interface and a range of visualisation options.

Adobe Illustrator:

  • Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor that can be used to create complex visualisations and infographics. It offers advanced design capabilities and can be used to create high-quality, print-ready visualisations.


These are just a few examples of the many tools and software available for creating data visualisations. The choice of tool will depend on factors such as the complexity of the data, the desired level of interactivity, and the user’s level of technical expertise.





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