Making data meaningful – Style guide on the presentation of statistics

10 February, 2010 (18:53) | book review, charts, data publishing, data visualization, tips | By: jerome

Making Data Meaningful part 2
Introducing Making Data Meaningful Part 2 – Style guide on the presentation of statistics – which, as its name cleverly suggests, is a compilation of  advice to present graphical information.

It’s a follow up to Making Data Meaningul part 1 , which focused on writing about data, as opposed to visualize it.

The book is a cooperation between representatives of national statistical offices and intergovernmental organizations – all public statisticians, if you will. I hope it will help others to communicate their data better. Personally, I have written the part about charts and collaborated to some other chapters. But if I could sum up my advice in one sentence, it would be: go buy Stephen Few books. Start with Show me the numbers.

The list of people who collaborated to the book includes:


Comment from Michael W Cristiani
Time March 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm


Somehow the link for Part 1 does not resolve. Do you have another link for it.

BTW, you know I really enjoy your work and your insight / innate sense of what makes a good and useful data visualization.

Peace and All Good!

Comment from Eugene Tjoa
Time December 23, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Hi Jerome,

I wonder why you recommend to buy Stephen Few’s book. It sounds like you prefer that book over the style guide to which you have contributed yourself. Is your preference related to the content, the writing style or perhaps something else?

Thanks for putting this on your blog anyway.

Comment from jerome
Time December 23, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Stephen Few’s book I was thinking of when I wrote this, “show me the numbers”, is 267 pages, all written from the same point of view, his.
Making data meaningful is 52 pages which are sometimes the fruit of consensus and numerous edits.
So, his version is more complete.
In my contribution I tried to approach the problem from another angle. I’m recommending chart designers to be aware of the visual efforts that their creations require, and to adjust that effort to the purpose required: when you want to make something obvious, make it easy to decipher, when you want the reader to ignore some fact, represent it in a less comprehensible way.
After the many edits though, I’m not sure this point is really represented in the final manuscript.

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