In my Presentation Magic workshops, if the audience suits and time permits, I’ll give an extensive insight into how best to use graphs and charts to get your message across succinctly and persuasively. Like so many slideshows that follow the cognitive style of Powerpoint (and which I am lamentably seeing increasingly used with Apple’s Keynote as more Windows users are making the switch and discovering Keynote, but persisting in using it like Powerpoint), graphs and charts are too often used poorly. In essence, it’s commonplace to see data points slapped into Excel, then a graph derived without consideration given to whether it actually helps an audience better understand the raw data, or whether a graph is generated because that’s what’s expected. This is especially true for those in the sciences.
At Macworld in 2010, I’ll spend some of my workshop looking at these issues in my usual offbeat but highly persuasive fashion, and most ought to come away with a new appreciation of the virtues and vices of graphical data displays. Anyway, for the current moment, Australian journalist Mia Freedman (@miafreedman) has twittered a most excellent humorous blog entry featuring the use of pie charts (and an exchange between a designer and a potential user of his services). Littered with expletives, so you’ve been warned.