Designing Graphics

Designing Graphics Strategic Planning for Visual Information in your Formal Report Preplanning Your Graphics Choose the type of graphic and know why that type was chosen Know how it will benefit your document (be as specific as possible) Know how it will be helpful to readers Describe the data it will present Know how you plan to prepare it or otherwise obtain it

Common Misuses of Graphics Distorting charts by varying the grid scale or skipping intervals Misusing statistics by using inappropriate ones or too small a data base Omitting relevant data Using them to pad a skimpy report Major Types of Graphics Tables Line Graphs

Bar Graphs Pie Charts Diagrams Photos or Drawings Tables display numbers or words arranged in a grid. They are good for situations where exact numbers need to be presented. Some

examples are Describing the components of a program's implementation. Displaying attrition. Displaying pre- and post-test results. Presenting correlations or comparisons.

Sample Table Table 1. Penalties for Select Driving Offenses in New York State Violation Mandatory Fine Maximum Jail Term Mandatory Action Against License First violation

$350-$500 1 year Revoked at least 6 months 2 or more violations in 10 years $500-$5,000 4 years

Revoked at least 1 year First violation $250 15 days Suspended 90 days 2 violations in 5 years

$350-$500 30 days Revoked at least 6 months $500-$1,500 90 days DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED

DRIVING WHILE ABILITY IMPAIRED 3 violations in 10 years Revoked at least 6 months if current violation occurred within 5 years of previous violation Source: NY State Department of Motor Vehicles, Motor Vehicles Code 2001, p. 303. Line Graphs Line graphs show sets of data

points plotted over a time period and connected by straight lines. Line graphs are useful for displaying Any set of figures that needs to be shown over time. Results from two or more groups compared over time.

Data trends over time. Sample Line Chart 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10

0 East West North 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr

Bar Graphs Bar graphs show quantities represented by horizontal or vertical bars and are useful for displaying The activity of one thing through time. Several categories of

results at once. Data sets with few observations. Sample Vertical Bar Chart 90 80 70 60 50 East West North

40 30 20 10 0 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr

Sample Horizontal Bar Chart 4th Qtr 3rd Qtr North West East 2nd Qtr 1st Qtr 0

20 40 60 80 100 Pictorial Bar Chart (difficult!) Pie Charts

Pie charts show proportions in relation to a whole, with each wedge representing a percentage of the total. Pie charts are useful for displaying The component parts of a whole in percentages. Budget,

geographic or population analysis. Sample Pie Chart 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr Exploded Pie Chart 1st Qtr

2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr Diagrams Diagrams show complex processes and projects; relative positions, roles and responsibilities within organizations; historical perspectives; future plans; and parts and

details that are usually hidden. In general, diagrams are used for Ideas, facts, priorities and processes. Where things are located or how they work. Relationships when quantitative information is not

the primary focus. Sample Diagram Diagram Example (Not actual data) Sample Organizational Chart Photographs or Drawings Photographs or drawings can enhance a report by

making concrete the images and facts conveyed in your words. Photos emphasize accuracy; drawings suggest possibilities. They can Document exact conditions Highlight relevant information while excluding the

irrelevant Sample Use of Photo Sample Use of Drawing Checklist for Effective Graphics-1 Have you noted in your document outline the approximate location of your graphics? Does the text preceding a table or figure make clear why the visual is there and what it shows?

Is the language in the text describing the graphic consistent with the language in the graphic? Do all graphics have clear, concise captions? Checklist (cont.) Is the graphic located as close as possible to the text describing it? Does the text following the graphic analyze and use its contents to further your argument? Have you allowed adequate white space around and within the graphics in your

documents? Do the layout and design of your finished document highlight the organization and hierarchy of your information? Making Graphics Readable Not this. But this Remember Graphics are part of your persuasive strategy. They should be used for a specific

argumentative reason. A bad graphic is worse than no graphic at all. Not everybody loves USA Today. Sources beyonddata/index.htm Markel, Writing in the Workplace (1997)

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