Data Chefs Data Viz Organizer: Building on the Junk Charts Trifecta

This post is the first in an ongoing series about the Data Chefs Viz Organizer, a planning document designed to help people create visualizations from conception to end product.


I work at a nonprofit, and I’ve recently started working to help the organization get better at data viz. One thing I’m doing is training small workgroups of Data Viz Ambassadors (DVAs—pronounced “divas”), to help spread best data viz practices from the ground up. In addition to learning about best practices, DVAs must produce a practical visualization using their own data.

My syllabus for the workgroup is strongly influenced by Kaiser Fung’s Junk Charts Trifecta Checkup (JCTC):

junkcharts trifecta

I’ve had the workgroup use the JCTC as an organizing tool because it puts the question—which is very important, but often overlooked—on equal footing with the data and the visualization.  The JCTC is ideal for analyzing visualizations, but most of the DVAs have struggled to figure out how to use the JCTC when producing their own visualizations.

When I realized that this was a common problem, I created the data viz template below to help with the process of planning and documentation (note how the Data Chefs organizer parallels the JCTC):


The goal is to keep the question front and center, like the JCTC does, while providing a bit more structure to the process of creating and documenting data visualizations.  Hopefully, someone else in the organization can look at a completed organizer and understand (and even replicate) the process and the final data visualization.

I will be returning to this organizer in later posts, going into more detail on each component, and soliciting feedback on how to improve the document.

Initial thoughts on the organizer as a planning guide?

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