The following qualities for explanatory data visualizations were described in the free, online course Data Visualization and D3.js.
- understand the context- who will be viewing the visualization, what is the cultural context?
- choose appropriate type of visual- should it be a map, chart, etc?
- identify and eliminate clutter – remove non-essential details, show only informational design elements
- direct audience attention – show the viewer what is important, guide their experience through the visualization
- tell a story – tie your visualization to a larger narrative