Skip to Main Content

Data visualisation

Basics of data visualisation - what it is, techniques, how to create, tools & software.

Common techniques


Techniques About Format Examples Examples
Charts These may use axes but not necessarily. They use an established pattern or theme for displaying data.

Health & wealth relationship
A static bubble chart from GapMinder.

At the national conventions, the words they used
An interactive bubble chart from The New York Times.

Graphs These contain a X and Y axis, with at least one showing numerical data.

Fewer Americans feel overloaded by information than did so a decade ago
A static bar graph from the Pew Research Centre.

Maps These are used for visualising geospatial, geographic data.

Australian rainfall percentages
An interactive choropleth map from the Bureau of Meterology.

Temporal These display data over a period of time, with a start and a finish time.

Women making history in aerospace and manufacturing
Example of static timeline.

21 years of the Nasdaq
Interactive timeline from Wall Street Journal.

Hierarchy These organise data to show the relationships between big and small groups or areas. 

Phylogeny figures by PLOS ONE PHYLOGENY
A static tree diagram example.


These demonstrate how data is related within a network.

Participant demographics
A static node-link visualisation from the University of Cambridge.

Infographics These visually display data in a multiple of ways. Usually very aesthetically pleasing. Often includes other visualisation techniques eg. graphs.

Women and equality in national parliaments
An example of a static infographic.

Multidimensional These will have at least two or more dimensions. Often used with other visualisation techniques eg. chart. Change in [online] activity over time
An example of a static heat map from the Pew Research Centre.

Choosing a technique

Useful resources