Optimise Data Visualisations with Colour

If used correctly, colour is a very effective tool that you can use to visually display data.

Colour can be used to encode extra meaning into your charts; however, it can become an issue if colour is used for no real purpose. Instead of splashing colour onto your charts for appeal, rather use colour so that various audiences are able to obtain relevant information.

Remember that no matter how well data is presented, if the data is not correct, it is useless. Using guided analytics, such as QlikView business intelligence software, will ensure that your data is organised and effective.

Differentiating between sets of values

When displaying data from different categories, using colour can definitely help the viewer analyse the graph. Patrik Lundblad displays the following graph on Qlik:

In the graph above, different colours represent different fashion types, for example: blue is men’s clothing, red is women’s wear, and so on. The graph’s smart use of colour enables us to immediately see that men’s footwear is the highest selling product followed by women’s wear. This graph shows how colour can be helpful when it comes to making a graph easier to analyse; however, make sure that the graph does not end up being more confusing than useful.

Highlighting data differences

You can use sequential colour patterns to display changes in data. In a bar chart, for example, different shades of colour can be used to show intensity when the data goes above or below a specific percentage. This enables viewers to immediately notice datadifferences .

Using diverging colour palettes to show growth in intensity also works well. For example, a graph’s colour palette can range from green (illustrating positive data) to red (illustrating negative results); this will clearly show the viewer data differences.







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