How-to nail data viz design for multidimensional data (Part 1)

Example multidimensional data plot from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scatter_plot.jpgIn this article I’ll describe some of the design challenges and thought processes I go through when solving a common “entity list” design problem. At ShiftLeft we deal with very similar challenges, but for ease of comprehension I’m using a generic “HR database” example.Some of you might consider this a revisit of fundamentals, but no matter how experienced, I find in a “data rich” environment, the multitude of ways you can present information can often be overwhelming. This is particularly true of multidimensional data, or “rows” of information about items that have multiple numeric and textual values associated with them.Let’s assume our sample data is about “Employees” for an HR user interface.Quantified values might include:AgeSalaryAverage hours worked per weekDate of hire# of days off takenCategorical values might include:GenderHair colorOfficeTeamIdentifying values (that help uniquely identify a row):Full nameEmployee IDWith a use case of “As a user I want to understand everything about employees” it can be very hard to tune the experience and choose the right data visualization approach. The outcome in this case will often look like something akin to a spreadsheet, listing everything verbatim, with minimal sort/search capability. This isn’t because designers love spreadsheets, but...
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