Checklist for Creating Visualizations

Making Accessible Visualizations

When creating visualizations, it is important to create content that is both physically accessible and understandable to all. More than 1 billion people have some form of disability, so you need to ensure that you are not excluding anyone when creating a visualization.

For example, look at the following example of a chart.

A line graph comparing number of likes over time of two posts.

However, someone who is color-blind may see the graph as shown below, which has been generated using this color-blindness simulator. As you can see, it is more difficult to read.

A line graph comparing number of likes over time of two posts.

How might you ensure that a color-blind person can understand your visualization. How about if a person was dyslexic? This article identifies some key considerations for accessible data visualizations.

In addition, some other aspects of visualization to think about include language, color, size. Look at your choices and ask:

  • Is this the simplest way to express this information?

  • How simple/complicated should your visualization be, depending on the technical understanding of your audience?

Keep these questions in mind so that your visualizations are clear for all.

What should I keep in mind when creating a visualization?

Now that you have been able to examine some existing visualizations, it’s time for you to make your own! There are several choices for you to consider when making visualizations that are accessible for viewers. Here is a checklist for you to reference when making a visualization. More details are listed below the checklist.

A summary checklist for reading visualizations, listed below.
  1. Why are you making this visualization? What point do you intend to make with the visualization?

    • It is important to keep in mind what facts and/or opinions you are trying to convey with your visualization.

  2. What is the content of the visualization?

    • What data will you need?

    • What aspects of the data will you need to showcase?

  3. Who is the audience of the visualization?

    • The audience of your visualization will impact everything in the visualization, from the type of graphic to the style of language used.

    • It is also crucial to know how data-competent your audience is. You want everyone who sees this visualization to understand it.

  4. Which types of visualization do you plan to use?

    • The “type” of visualization indicates the format, e.g. Is it a table? Is it a pie chart?

    • Try out different formats of charts. How do you know a specific type of visualization is the best unless you try others?

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