Elizabeth Ricks completes a series on designing visuals. Question 4 involves the audience:
When communicating with data, always consider what broader purpose it serves. Too often, we don’t pause and think about the context (understandable in the real-world maelstrom of deadlines, constraints and organizational politics!). Rather, we force the visuals that we used to analyze the data upon our audience, hoping they’ll come to the same conclusion.
In data visualization, words can be more powerful than we realize. When designing graphs, the non-negotiable text includes explicit axes labels, descriptive chart titles, supporting annotations, and footnotes with relevant methodology and assumptions. Never assume it’s apparent what’s being shown—make it your default to include this important context so your audience doesn’t have to guess what they’re seeing.
Be sure to read both.