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Visualization Design

Visualization Design in a Nutshell

This part gives a brief yet growing introduction with some rules-of-thumb for beginners in information visualization. It’s a summary of discussions I am having with my students and includes information written more extensively elsewhere.

Stages in Visualization Design

One way of thinking about visualization design is through the following four stages, which build onto each other though iterations are standard. Conceptual design—this includes the required visualizations (network visualization, map, charts, .. ) and the interactions between them (zoom, filter, search, etc.. )

The following lists some loose guidelines on what to take into account on each stage.

Conceptual Design

Structural Design


Visual Mapping



Color is one of the most prominent visual variables to be used in visualization. With good use, you can create effective visualizations, but with bad use you can obtain quite the opposite. The basic thing to know is that what we basically call ‘color’ is made up of three components:

Here are some questions you want to ask yourself when using color in information visualization:

Graphical Design

These guidelines can be seen as a little checklist. Go through them once you have completed your structural design.