Top Resources for Analysts: Charting, Visualization and Presentation

If you work with data for a living, the following sites are worth a visit (or a subscription) to learn from some of the best, most passionate practitioners. While we’re at it, we are handing out our first annual Juicy Awards celebrating contributions to the analytics community. The categories are:

1. Charts and graphs

2. Information visualization

3. Presentations

4. Excel

5. Data analysis

6. Business intelligence

(4 through 6 are covered in part 2)

Here is an OPML file containing the finalists if you want to subscribe to these feeds with a single click.

Juice Resources for Analysts.opml


Charts and Graphs

These sites are dedicated to teaching the best (and pointing out the worst) approaches for displaying data in business environments. And the Juicy goes to (darn... this... envelope) Junk Charts for "recycling chart junk as junk art."

Best of the rest:

  • Stephen Few: "Thoughts about how visual representations of data and visual interaction techniques can be used in practical ways to analyze and communicate business information." We like Steve for his tireless campaign to improve data visualization in a business environment as well as hard-hitting critiques of the established business intelligence vendors.
  • Edward Tufte’s Ask E.T. Forum: The Don of Data Display. The Patriarch of Presentation. The Vicar of Visualization. The forum has a lot of great discussion about data presentation and charting.
  • Communication Nation: "I believe we will be happier and more productive if we can improve our ability to communicate. This blog is dedicated to that effort"
  • Stat. Graphics and Data Vis.: Straddling the fence between our charting and info visualization categories, this blog appears to have fallen fallow. On the plus side, it offers one of my favorite examples of a terrible 3D chart.
  • Indexed: Sometimes a hand-drawn chart is just what is needed to tell the story.

Information visualization

Thse sites show off the best of the world of "info vis." This is where art and design take starring roles, pushing aside the straightforward data display of traditional charts and graphs. Winner of the Juicy: Information Aesthetics for Form Follows Data. A daily dose of information visualization to spark your creativity.

Best of the rest:

  • Info Vis Wiki: Community platform with a plethora of links and resources. As is typical of this category: a ton of information presented beautifully is still a ton of information.
  • Visual Complexity: A gallery of visualization examples with particular focus on ways to display complex, multi-dimensional networks.
  • NiXLOG Infographics: "A running collection of links to infographics found on the web."
  • Datapacifica: Tuned in to the latest examples of data visualization. [Edit: Jay Jakosky, author of Who Was Where, writes in to tell us that the blog has changed names and locations to Datapacifica from Who Was Where. The link and OMPL have been changed.]
  • Visuale: Pointing readers to examples of cool infovis. Bonus points for using the famous Napoleon goes to Moscow graphic in the blog logo.


Now you’ve got to put all your data together to tell a full story. The sites below give advice, tips, and guidelines for constructing and delivering your presentation. (We left out the bevy of PowerPoint tips blogs in part because of the ugliness of their presentation...the irony does not escape us).

The Juicy goes to Presentation Zen in a runaway victory. Garr Reynolds offers tips, tricks, and examples for making great presentations. An excerpt: "Edward Tufte says: "PowerPoint is Evil." This got me thinking... What if Darth Vader — my favorite fictional bad guy — gave a formal presentation? How would it look? How would it compare to the presentation style of Yoda, the wise Jedi master?"

Best of the rest:

  • MasterViews: Lively blog focused on PowerPoint.
  • Signum sine tinnitu: Guy Kawaski, author of The Art of the Start, frequently writes about presenting and presentations.
  • Maniactive: A fun blog that touches on both PowerPoint and approaches to presenting.
  • Tony Ramos: A rambling list of links and thoughts that will keep you up on all that is new in PowerPoint, presentations, and presentation design.