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Preparing Your Dashboard

An article about how to apply visual guidelines in practice.

A dashboard is the use of visual representations to explore, make sense of, and communicate data. It often includes charts, graphs, illustrations, etc. Most developments in visualization have occurred in the last two and a half centuries. Until recently, it was not recognized as a discipline. Today’s most popular visual forms date back a few centuries.

In 1954, Darrell Huff wrote his best-selling book “How to Lie with Statistics” in which he explained how people often intentionally use graphs to spread misinformation, especially in favor of their own products or causes. Today, more (deep)fake information is disseminated unintentionally because people do not know how to use visualization to communicate information.

According to American statistician and professor Edward Tufte, tables and graphs consist of two types of “ink”; data ink and non-data ink. Tufte introduced the concept of data-ink ratio in 1983. He argued that the ratio of ink used to display data to the total ink should be high. In other words, ink that is used to display anything that is not data should be reduced to a minimum.

Tips for preparing your visual aids

Reduce the non-data ink

  • Remove unnecessary non-data ink
  • Regulate the remaining data-ink

Enhance the data-ink

  • Remove the unnecessary data-ink
  • Highlight the most important data-ink

Dashboards provide visual displays of important information that is consolidated and arranged on a single screen so that information can be digested at a single glance. The fundamental challenge of dashboard design is to display all the required information on a single screen, clearly and without distraction, in a manner that can be assimilated quickly.

As you will learn more in detail in the upcoming activities of this course, climate change is one of the main sources of global disasters and extreme events day by day. Understanding the factors created by climate change will be beneficial when faced with decisions regarding disastrous future events. In this dataset, you will see the natural disasters of all countries. The original dataset provides data from 1970 until 2021 all over the world. To avoid a mass amount of data and several unnecessary columns, we have made the dataset lighter by including disasters from 2020 and 2021. Also, extra columns are removed.

The full dataset is provided by Kaggle (linked at the end of this page) and requires you to create an account. However, the dataset is publicly available free of charge. If you are unable to create an account, you can also find the data here.

Preparing the dashboard in Orange

  • Open Orange on your computer
  • Drag the three widgets: CSV File Import, Data Table, and Mosaic Display in the canvas area connected as the below figure:
  • Double-click on the CSV File Import and locate the file that you have downloaded.
  • Double-click on the Mosaic Display. You should see the below figure, but make sure you have the safe configuration choices as indicated in the left-pane, for example color is total death, etc.
  • From File menu, Save the process as Task5
  • Look at the Visualization sub-folder in the left pane and choose another widget rather than Mosaic display, and see how your dashboard changes accordingly.

© Luleå University of Technology
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Data Science for Climate Change

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