Chapter 3 - Dealing with Data Visualization

How to Find Relationships in Data

As you know, infographic data can’t be numbers alone. The numbers have to be delivered though visuals that show interesting relationships.

Earlier in the guide, we briefly looked at the process for finding relationships and using them to tell a story. Now we will look at ways to find relationships that tell stories. This video by Flowing Data does a great job at explaining how to tell a story through data.

Infographics show relationships like:

  • Trends
  • Patterns
  • Differences (contrasting information)
  • Similarities
  • Comparisons

over time, space, and categories.

Show Relationships Through Time

Showing relationships through timelines is a great way to show growth, decline, and the changes along the way.


Show Relationships Over Space

Don’t confuse space with maps and geographic areas. Space can be how you use size, shape, scale, and empty space on the page to show information.

When you want to show the difference between the size of elements, use scale and range to show the relationship. But remember that the scale has to be accurate or it is a misrepresentation of the data.


In this example, the space shows the difference in the numbers of users between Twitter and WordPress. The shape sizes make the information easier to absorb and understand.

Show Relationships Between Categories

Lump together statistics about similar categories to show how they relate to each other.


Show Relationships Between Data That Means the Same Thing

Pull out data sets that have interesting connections and relationships.


In this example, the data set included the amount of space a phone could hold. But rather than showing that number, the infographic shows the equivalent number of songs, photos, and movies that would take up that much space.

That makes the information relatable, interesting, and memorable.

Show Relationships by Relating to Data that People Understand

If you have a data set that is hard for the reader to grasp, compare it to something they understand.

Relationships Data

In this example, the number 1 trillion is hard to comprehend. But by breaking down the number and showing that it is the equivalent of 140 views per person, it makes the number easier to absorb.

Find ways to break information into manageable parts that audiences can understand.

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