Test Your Data Visualization IQ

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Data visualization has really been on my mind of late. Partly because I’ve personally been struggling to produce some effectively-presented information, and, even more so, because one of my co-workers has been spending even more time overhauling the way we communicate data-driven information to our clients. He’s making a lot more headway on his work than I am on mine, unfortunately (for me).

Last week, he pinged me with a link to a 10-question Graph Design IQ test on the Perceptual Edge web site. He and I both patted ourselves on the back for scoring 10 out of 10…but, then again, he and I had both recently read, and are working to apply, Stephen Few’s Information Dashboard Design. And, Perceptual Edge = Stephen Few. So, let’s face it, it would be downright embarrassing if we’d just read the book…and then not aced the test. Still, it’s a good exercise — almost a memory-jogger as to the concepts Few lays out and the rationale behind them.

Take the test and see how you do. It’s all of 10 questions long, and each question only has two answers, so it’s a 2-minute exercise. If you get a question wrong, a little box comes up and gives a very quick/brief explanation as to why. It’s interesting.

On a related note, thanks to a couple of people on Twitter, I got pointed to an interesting post on creating bullet graphs using Google Spreadsheets. One of these days, doggonit, I’m going to lock myself away and play around with Google Docs. I managed to spend 15 minutes trying out a revamped scorecard using Google Docs today. But, that was 15 minutes in five 3-minute chunks, so I didn’t make much headway. Stay tuned, though, and I’ll let you know if I ever manage to produce anything there!

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