Six reasons for using visual charts


Cover of "The Back of the Napkin (Expande...

Book cover via Amazon

We all like charts. When I think about charts I really think about a graphical representation of something, could be a graph, could be a map, could be diagram, anything graphical really. We encourage people to use charts in presentations. I’ve looked at some “charts” lately, and thinking about what they do. This reminded me of Dan Roam’s Back of the Napkin where he explain 6 kind of ways to communicate visually. We show:

  • who and what through basic pictures.
  • how many by using graphs like bar charts.
  • where things are by means of physical or conceptual maps.
  • when things happen by means of timelines.
  • how execution takes place by means of flow charts.
  • why things happen through multivariate plots

So think carefully about the message you want to give, and the type of visual chart to show will become self-evident.

Can you think of any other reason you would need a visual chart?

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