Taking time with visualisation

Introductions & guides

Whilst some visualisations are relatively self-explanatory, depending on the audience, others will need to provide the reader with extra guidance.

The inclusion of introductory text helps to ‘set the scene’. Here you can learn more about the visualisation, understand what the subject matter is about, and learn about the thinking behind the making of the visualisation. Introductory text might also include information about where the data comes from and any assumptions or calculations that were made in the process of making the visualisation. Sometimes the introduction will also present some key findings or snippets of analysis. When a visualisation project uses a seemingly complicated looking or unfamiliar chart type, introductory text might also include useful guidance about how to read the chart.

If the introduction fails to fully equip you with all the information you need about the visualisation, then the creator has neglected to include all the necessary guidance.

In ‘The Pursuit of Faster’, the introductory text provides context for why it was made and highlights the specific interest around improvements in speed (especially between genders). There is a ‘Read more…’ link to find out even more detail (information which would be unnecessary for the opening paragraph).