How to design a good Information Visualisation

Cosimo Scarpa
3 min readJan 22, 2019

It’s always important delivery a good representation of the information if you want to drive your audiences to take the desiderate final action.

Photo by José Alejandro Cuffia on Unsplash

Right now there is more data available that we can comfortably process, so the Information Visualisation is designed to help the audience to make sense regarding the data.

What makes people passionate about your product/service if the pure and simple experience. In the end, they will be going to be committed to it.
In order to make people passionate, you have to understand who they are. The research will help you to insight deep into the audience.

The kind of users that you can find in Information Visualisation is two.

Information Consumers

This is the most common format of users in Information Visualisation and they need to be informed of something specific from the underlying data.
In this case, the users can be just informed or persuaded and this will help shape a clear idea about a concept, but mostly used to take a final decision.

Information Analysis

Very similar to the previous one, it may be used to confirm their understanding of an idea or concept.
However, most commonly the information analysis is used to investigate something that the users don’t know.

Photo by Daniele Riggi on Unsplash

How to represent the information?

There is a fundamental guideline to follow, in order to deliver the information.

Graphical Excellence

Focus on usability with the right amount of information, in order to reduce the processing time of that.
Working on visual and reduce extra decoration, in order to reduce distraction.

Visual Integrity

The representation should neither distort the underlying data, not create a false impression or interpretation of the data.

Maximizing the data-ink ratio

Be careful about how the visualisation is compiled, it’s important to avoid superfluous elements to the user. The data is the priority, focus on how you will display that instead of care about appearance.

Aesthetic Elegance

Everything is about the simplicity of the design. Even if you have a complexity amount of data, be sure that it will be easy to understand.

How to avoid information overload?

Information overload occurs when decision-makers face a level of information that is greater than their information processing capacity.

The Overflowing Brain: Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory By Torkel Klingberg

An excessive amount of information, by recent studies it has been found to increase the production of cortisol, that it’s a particular stress hormone also known as fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline.
This hormone in a considerable quantity can overstimulate the brain and cause mental fog or confusing thinking.

There are few rules to follow to solve this problem

  • Be simple and relevant. Less information you will present, easier it will be to understand.
  • Be clear. It’s good to not overwhelm but the information has to be clear to increase the effectiveness.
  • Provide supporting information. If users have to deal with complex information, make sure that they will have easy access to extra details.
  • Provide balanced information. Show always both the aspect of the information but it’s also important to understand know when to show or to hide a specific piece of information.
  • Don’t forget the purpose of that information. What action should the users take? Why?
  • Make sure that users can easily take action. If they have to complete a task, make it accessible and obvious.


Information is everywhere, sometimes we focus on it, other time we just ignore it. As designers, we have to understand how users think and which is the trigger of the decision-making.
Giving to them the correct amount of data in the right way, and be sure that that information will satisfy the users’ needs.

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