I recently had the honour of teaching something that I am passionate about (data visualization) in the International Master’s programme in Business Administration (MBA) at the EDHEC Business School in Nice, France. Amadeus sent me, the company where I work. Amadeus is the leading provider of IT solutions for the tourism sector and the world’s largest travel booking processor.
Since they are institutions with similar objectives, EDHEC and Amadeus collaborate frequently. For several years, the participants of the International MBA of the EDHEC offered consulting services to Amadeus for two months. During that period, they provided valuable information on certain projects. In addition to receiving employees in practices of the EDHEC, Amadeus hires graduates from the MBA program, which is among the 25 best in the world according to The Economist.
In my class, best practices for data visualization were studied and Tableau exercises were performed. These methods highlight the following three concepts of data visualization:
- Start with a question you want to answer or a hypothesis you want to test. As Alberto Cairo says in his book, The Functional Art: “a good infographic is as functional as a hammer”.
- Keep the simplicity, but not bored. While many concepts related to best practices for visual analysis need to be considered, do not forget the following: do not abuse colors or fonts. (I try not to use more than two). Play with the tones of the same color and the styles of the same font.
- Choose the right graph. You can use the renowned Andrew Abela diagram to select a suitable chart type. But remember that circular graphics and area graphics should be used with caution. You can also see the graphic perception report produced by William Cleveland and Robert McGill in 1984. This will allow you to know the most precise graphics, the basic 2D and the ones that allow you to make more generic comparisons, such as Area graphics and graphics with different shades of colors.