Using common software such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, users can create a multitude of different types of graphs, including pie charts, line graphs, flow charts, and Gantt charts. Which factors weigh into the decision to choose a particular type of graph or chart? Once you choose a type, how can you ensure that it is clear, readable, and ethical?
Picking a visual aid is very important for your adudience. Here are some key factors to help pick which visual aid to use from thelecture:Use tables to present exact values.Use line charts or bar graphs to show trends or to compare two or more sets of data.Use a pie chart to show distribution of parts of a whole (when numbers add up to 100 percent, for instance).Use a flowchart to illustrate a process or procedure or to diagram a complex relationship, such as thenavigational structure of a website.Use photos to show spatial relationships or when a realistic rendering is desirable.Use video or animation when you need to communicate action.
I think the most important factors to consider when choosing software to assist in presentations is what type of information is being presented and who is the intended audience. For example, if the audience doesn’t have a lot of statistical expertise, then pie charts of line graphs might be more easily understood. If the presentation is being made to upper level management, then flow charts or Gantt charts might be a better choice to convey complex technical information. Whatever type of illustrative medium is chosen, the information should be presented as clearly and readable as possible. You can review the charts/graphs from an audience perspective and consider if they would be clear to you from that viewpoint. It’s important not to try and crowd in too much information onto a single diagram or attempt to communicate too much in the course of a presentation. It may be better to condense or eliminate some information. There is an old adage that “you can prove anything with statistics,” and we should be careful to make charts and graphs that are accurate and representative of information we are attempting to illustrate. For example, it’s common to see bar chart that purposely exaggerates the difference between variables to emphasize a point. For illustrations to be ethical, they should be free of even subtle misrepresentations.