7. Do: Maximize the signal-to-noise ratio

It is tempting to show the amount of work you did and impress peer reviewers. But an analysis that says a lot with fewer charts packs a more impactful punch than an analysis with repetitive or unnecessary visualizations. “Signal” adds value to your analysis by helping make your point, while “noise” is either redundant, tangential, not informative, or otherwise unnecessary or even distracting (Nancy Duarte cited in Knaflic, p. 72). Showing the same findings with multiple charts that don’t provide extra information can be a form of noise.


Do you want to show the same variable in daily, monthly, and annual frequency where the trends are the same? Build one chart with a parameter – let the user select one frequency at a time. Mention on the side that all options show the same underlying trend (if they do). That’s a chart that packs a lot of data ink in a small amount of space!