Month: September 2017

Jigsaw unveils punchy pro-immigration AW17 campaign


In a bold and punchy move, British fashion brand Jigsaw has released its new AW17 campaign featuring the tagline “Heart Immigration,” which also includes a manifesto published on the brand’s website and Twitter account. The campaign, design by London-based creative agency The Corner, features a host of diverse models in a typical Jigsaw-style stately home and has taken over London’s Oxford Circus underground station.

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It’s Nice That

Fundamentals of Web Typography on Skillshare

There’s too much to know, so why bother. I’m not creative. I can’t tell the difference between them. I just want something that looks good. I’ll just use whatever is on my computer.

I’ve listened to more than a few people lament that typographic knowledge feels impenetrable. Too many pitfalls, foundries, considerations, and the sheer number of typefaces! It’s true, typography goes long. And the pace of new work can be kind of staggering.

But learning enough to make a few good choices can lift that fog. Just like learning a couple steps might help you get on the dance floor, or learning how to select ripe produce might get you cooking—learning a few things about type will help you choose fonts and use them with confidence.

Well, I’ve got your back! I made a Skillshare class called How to Look at Type: Fundamentals of Web Typography to help you get up to speed. In a breezy 50 minutes you’ll learn all about how to evaluate and choose good typefaces, use typography to evoke a mood, and set your type with ease.

And if you signup now, you’ll get your first two months free. Which is handy because there are amazing classes from the likes of Paula Scher, Aaron Draplin, Ellen Lupton, and Mary Kate McDevitt.

In less than an hour you can get over the hump and up your typography game. Check out the introduction video today!

Jason Santa Maria

Nintendo to revive NES Classic Edition in 2018 as it extends SNES retro console shipments

Nintendo has some good news for retro gaming fans as the company announced that it’s extending shipments for its SNES Classic Edition into 2018, having originally announced that it would stop by the end of this year.

But in another surprising twist, the Japanese gaming also revealed that in 2018 it will revive the NES Classic Edition that was launched initially last November.

Above: Now you’re playing with power.

Image Credit: Nintendo

The $ 60 NES was unveiled last June, and though the mini console proved hard to get a hold off when it hit the market five months later, it actually outsold both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in at least one month. The NES Classic Edition shipped with 30 built-in games such as The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., and Mega Man 2, but Nintendo was apparently caught off-guard by its popularity and it ultimately discontinued the product less than six months after it went on sale.

Shortly after, however, Nintendo announced the $ 80 SNES Classic Edition — replete with 21 games such as Super Mario World and Super Mario Kart — which Gamesbeat reviewed as a good machine which offered few surprises.

Preorders for the SNES Classic Edition opened on August 22 and they immediately sold out — but those lucky enough to order one should be receiving their machine from September 29. If you weren’t able to get one first time around, the company is adamant that it has increased its production significantly compared to that of the NES Classic Edition, and it has urged gamers not to pay over the odds for a machine through eBay or other similar auction sites.

The company said in its announcement today:

More units of Super NES Classic Edition will ship on its Sept. 29 launch day in the U.S. than were shipped of NES Classic Edition all last year, with subsequent shipments arriving in stores regularly. Fans have shown their unbridled enthusiasm for these Classic Edition systems, so Nintendo is working to put many more of them on store shelves.

There was a great deal of speculation as to why Nintendo cut the NES Classic Edition from production when it proved so popular, but whatever the reason the company has evidently observed market demand and will announce “in the future” exact timing for new shipments in 2018.

Social – VentureBeat

How to Minimize Cart Abandonment in Your Checkout Process

Recently, I stumbled upon a scary statistic.

A whopping 69.23% of ecommerce shopping carts are abandoned.

To put this into perspective, for every 100 customers who start the checkout process, 69 don’t finish.

Is it a massive problem? Absolutely.

These numbers shouldn’t sit right with any business owner. That’s too many lost sales and potential lifelong customers.

But it’s also a bit surprising.

If someone starts the checkout process, it stands to reason they have a strong purchase intent.

So, why do so many shoppers fail to complete their purchases?

A few reasons.

Some of these are out of your control, and others, you can nip in the bud:

  • your site isn’t designed well, affecting the user experience;
  • the site has technical bugs;
  • site visitors are just window shopping;
  • your checkout process has too many pitfalls.

These are just a few ideas.

Can you guess which one is the most pervasive?

That’s right.

Your checkout process is turning potential customers away.

Take a look at this chart:

Exit intent Popup Shopping Cart Abandonment Solutions

Out of all the reasons why shoppers abandon their carts, a majority are related to the checkout phase.

Does this apply to all businesses? Not necessarily.

Don’t get me wrong.

All businesses—no matter how upscale—suffer from shopping cart abandonment.

You can’t do anything about a user who is just browsing. They may just want to save their favorite items in the cart for future reference.

With that said, there are varying reasons why shoppers do not complete a purchase.

In this article, you’ll find out if your checkout process is the main culprit and what you can do about it.

First, I’ll give you the common checkout pitfalls that turn potential customers away.

Then, we’ll get into a data-driven litmus test so you can know for sure.

This way, you won’t make changes to your site based on a hunch. That’s never good for business.

Sound good? Let’s start.

Five common pitfalls in the checkout process

If any of the following applies to your checkout process, it will certainly cause a percentage of shoppers to abandon their carts.

The great news?

It’s within your control.

Most times, a simple tweak is enough to make all the difference.

1. You haven’t earned the trust of potential customers

This is a big one.

If people don’t trust your site, there’s no way they’ll buy anything from you.

Your product could change their lives. It doesn’t matter.

The bottom line is, customers have to put in their personal information to complete the transaction.

If you don’t do everything in your power to make them feel secure doing so, you’ve lost them for good.

The solution

Step #1: Place testimonials and other proof elements on your checkout page.

Social proof is one of the most crucial elements to include on every page of your ecommerce site.

It’s especially powerful on the checkout page as it gives customers who may be hesitant an extra push.

Here’s a creative form of social proof from The Freedom Journal:

Choose Freedom

Step #2: Add credit card icons and other trust badges to reassure customers their payment information is secure.

List Builder s Lab

The placement of these badges is also important.

I recommend placing them right where customers have to put in their payment details and next to the “buy now” call to action.

Like this:

Content Marketing Mastery Secure Order Form

Step #3: Make sure you have contact information in clear sight. This way, customers know you’re not going to take their money and make a run for it.

Letting them know you can easily be reached is a small but impactful trust indicator.

Here’s an example from Amy Porterfield:

https dg101 infusionsoft com app orderForms List Builders Lab 1 Payment of 297 ga 2 211265245 974838801 1504269649 1558667423 1475774898

2. Additional costs blindside customers

Here’s the thing.

When the average person shops, they have a price point they’re willing to reach. As such, they choose items within these parameters.

After that has been surpassed, it’s a no-go.

When you surprise customers with high shipping costs, the immediate reaction is to make a dive for the exit.

And it’s with good reason.

I’ve seen instances where shipping, handling, and taxes amount to the price of the items in the cart.

That’s crazy.

It’s no wonder this is the number one reason people don’t complete their purchases.

cartabandon vwo 230616 jpg 630 368 pixels

The solution

Step #1: Let shoppers know their shipping costs early in the checkout process.

You can do this by introducing a shipping calculator to provide an estimate of the additional costs to be covered.

Here’s an example:

Cards and Pockets Your Shopping Cart

Step #2: Offer free shipping.

While this may not be feasible for everyone, it’s wise to find ways you can reduce costs for customers.

Many businesses offer free shipping once shoppers reach a certain price threshold.

Like this example from Fashion Nova:


As customers add new items to their carts, they’re reminded of how much more they need to spend to meet the threshold.

Classic High Waist Skinny Jeans Light Blue

Very clever.

Step #3: Have coupon codes on your site.

It’s important to have these discount offers on your site.

Why does that matter?

When customers go browsing elsewhere for coupons and don’t find them, they rarely come back.

You want to avoid that.

This beauty brand has a deal where they provide a daily coupon:

Home Chemical Peels Skin Care Acne Scars Wrinkles

This way, customers can easily save on shipping costs.

Today s Deal

3. The checkout process is too time-consuming

When they’re checking out, the only thing your customers value more than your product is their time.

That means that anything in your checkout process that takes too long is a problem.

Here are some examples:

  • technical glitches
  • slow site
  • poor design
  • lack of mobile friendliness
  • complicated navigation
  • long-winded checkout process

Website speed is a big deal for users: 40% of shoppers will abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Speed Is Key Optimize Your Mobile Experience

You can imagine that any issue which zaps customers of their time will have the same effect.

The solution

Step #1: Test the speed and mobile-friendliness of your website. Make immediate adjustment if it’s not up to par.

You can use Google’s mobile friendly test.

Mobile Friendly Test Google Search Console

Step #2: Have a simple checkout process with as few form fields as possible.

Ideally, customers want to sprint through this process. The easier you make it, the more likely they will go through with their purchases.

4. There’s not enough urgency to compel customers to act

Urgency as a sales strategy is about inspiring customers to take earnest and swift action.

It’s super simple to implement, and it has a massive impact.

Many businesses don’t flip this proven psychological switch when it matters most.

As we’ve seen before, a few of the reasons for shopping cart abandonment may be out of your control.

However, you can still have a measure of influence.

For instance, if you added a few urgency elements during checkout, it may entice window shoppers to make a purchase.

Think about the last time you bought something you didn’t intend to because the deal was too sweet to pass up.

It happens to the most disciplined of us.

The bottom line?

Without urgency elements, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity.

The solution

Step #1: Let customers know when an item is almost sold out. That increases the incentive to get it immediately.

Here’s an example:

Celestial Boot Black

Step #2: Use the language of immediacy.

Words like “instantly,” “today,” and “now” are all useful in that regard. I also recommend using active verbs and power words to encourage people to act right away.

Step #3: Satisfy your customers’ need for instant gratification.

Here’s what that means:

what is instant gratification Google Search

You want to give customers a sense that they’ll get what they want immediately.

This is an innate human need.

If you appeal to it, your customers will respond.

If you’re selling an information product, instant gratification is easy to provide. Your customers can have electronic access without delay.

But it’s trickier when you’re selling a product that has to be shipped.

My advice?

Take a page out of Amazon’s playbook.

They do this brilliantly.

Here’s what I mean:

Amazon com Checkout

If you know your items will be delivered to you in a couple of days, chances are you’ll be more likely to check out ASAP.

5. There’s not enough information on the checkout page

Nothing kills action like uncertainty.

If you don’t provide enough information on the checkout page, customers are likely to be unsure of the process.

They’ll start second-guessing their decisions and won’t complete their purchases.

The solution

Step #1: Include product details on the checkout page.

It’s a good practice to remind customers what they’re paying for and how much.

Here is an example from WebinarJam.

When you select a plan, they let you know what you’ve chosen. They also give you the next steps in the checkout process.


Step #2: Ensure there’s continuity between what’s on a product page and what’s displayed on the checkout page.

Has this ever happened to you?

You read the product page thoroughly and place the item in your cart only to find different information on the checkout page.

Even if it’s something slight, I assure you, it deters many people from completing the transaction.

Step #3: Include support options on the checkout page.

Consider having a live chat, email support, phone support, and a link to a FAQ page.

You don’t need to have all of these, but one or two will go a long way in securing the trust of customers.

It will also help move the purchase along if customers have a legitimate problem that needs to be taken care of before they go through with a transaction.

I’ve highlighted the common reasons why your checkout page may cause shoppers to abandon their carts.

The truth is, you need to consider your circumstances.

Sure, the “best practices” are useful.

But without concrete analytics, you’ll be making changes blindly.

A data-driven approach to dealing with shopping cart abandonment

Want to find out the exact cause of your shopping cart abandonment?

Google Analytics is the tool to use.

It’s simple. I’ll give you a step-by-step play.

Step #1: Find the “Admin” tab so you can create a conversion goal:

Analytics 6

This is so you can track the actions your web visitors take.

Click on “Goals”:

Analytics 7

Step #2: Create a new goal and set it up to track a completed transaction.

Analytics 5

In the first step of the goal setup, select an appropriate template.

While you’re tracking cart abandonment, your ultimate goal is to get customers to make a completed online payment.

Select that option:

Analytics 9

It’s time to describe your goal.

Name your goal, and select “Destination” as the goal type.

The destination can be a thank-you page, which will help you track the number of completed purchases.

Analytics 3

Next, you want to set the URL of your Destination.

As I mentioned, this could be any page that customers are directed to after their purchases.

The only reason someone would be on this page is if they completed a transaction, right?

Analytics 4

Step #3: Map the path customers take leading up to complete a transaction.

This is what will help you determine where the pitfalls in your sales funnel are.

In the same “Goal details” section, switch the Funnel option to “ON.”

Analytics 8

List all the steps that customers take leading up to the purchase. Name each step, and add the corresponding URL.

Like this:

Analytics 2

If you have a one-page checkout, only include that page, of course.

Whatever steps customers take, include them all.

You may want to go through the process yourself to make sure.

Save your goal, and that’s it for the setup. Tracking will begin, and you’ll now have detailed data for each step of your funnel.

Step #4: Check your reports to analyze the data.

Here’s where to find them.

Under “Conversions,” click on “Goals.”

Top Conversion Paths Analytics

Pay special attention to “Funnel Visualization.”

Top Conversion Paths Analytics 1

You’ll see an illustration that looks something like this:

Goal Funnel Analytics

I just created this, so there’s no data. It will take some time for yours to show up as well.

This data will tell you where in your funnel customers are jumping ship. It will also tell you in how many sessions your goal was completed.

Useful, right?

You’ll have a complete view of the way customers move through your funnel. You can now make informed adjustments to decrease your shopping cart abandonment rate.

You should know this though: there’ll always be customers who drop out before completing a purchase.

That’s just the nature of the game.

You can optimize your process to reduce that percentage significantly.

But will the lost sales be lost forever?

Can they be salvaged?

They can, and I’ll tell you how.

The ultimate solution to recovering abandoned carts

I hate to bring up this depressing statistic again, but only 3 out of 10 shoppers complete their purchases.

There is, however, a simple follow-up step that can increase that number significantly.

Crazily enough, most businesses don’t take advantage of it.

I’m referring to cart abandonment emails.

This could be one email or a whole sequence. You decide.

The point of these emails is to recover lost sales. If a customer adds items to their cart and leaves without checking out, be sure to follow up via email.

Here’s a brilliant example from Vanity Planet:

70 off on orders over 60 nellianestclair gmail com Gmail 2

Many things are going right in this email. It:

  • offers a massive discount
  • includes a free shipping offer
  • uses personal and persuasive language
  • provides a simple solution for returning to cart
  • has a direct link to checkout

They made an irresistible offer.

Many people would go back to complete their purchases in a heartbeat.

When cart abandonment emails are done right, they’re hands down the most powerful solution to recapture lost sales.

I highly recommend you test this strategy and watch it make a difference.


Dealing with shopping cart abandonment can be daunting.

It’s also frustrating when more than half of your prospects aren’t converting into sales—and you don’t know why.

There is any number of reasons why it might happen.

And to be frank, some of them are inevitable.

But others? You can do something about.

For many businesses, the checkout process is the biggest culprit when it comes to lost sales. I’ve pinpointed some of the most common issues and their fixes in this article.

Use them as a litmus test.

But don’t stop there.

I can tell you that applying best practices only to your checkout pages won’t transform your sales funnel.

It’s crucial you take a more data-backed strategy to deal with abandoned carts.

Include Google Analytics in your arsenal, and set up conversion goals.

This way, you’ll have detailed analytics to make the sort of changes that will maximize your profits.

What do you think is the best strategy to ensure customers complete their purchases?

Quick Sprout

Use a Content Audit as the Key to Crafting Your Content Marketing Strategy

Conducting a content audit is on the list of best practices for nearly every content marketer. Yet 37 percent of content marketers never complete a content audit.

A content audit helps you develop and navigate a content strategy. It enables you to allocate and analyze all of your existing content to identify what’s working and what isn’t. Most importantly, a content audit informs how you optimize both existing and future content.

The benefits span nearly every area of content marketing, from improved SEO to a better understanding of your content gaps. The ultimate benefit for many however, is in how an audit enables you to create a well thought-out, documented content strategy.

Only 46 percent of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. For those without one, planning a content strategy based on a content audit should be top priority.

Read on to learn how to use your content audit to develop a content strategy that works. This post shares an in-depth guide that also includes a helpful template. 

Starting a Content Audit

To begin:

  1. Make a list of content marketing goals and the information you need to achieve those goals.
  2. Develop a plan for extracting and compiling this information.

Having your goals and information sources in place helps you create a content strategy document more efficiently.

Next, track down and review your existing content. List each asset on a content inventory spreadsheet. Then add key terms to a keyword analysis spreadsheet. Use these two spreadsheets to create an insights document that will be the basis of your content strategy.

Update Your Content Strategy Document

If you already have a written content marketing strategy, this part is easy. Just use it as a template and update it with the new data from the audit. If you don’t have one, start by asking questions to inform your strategy.

Questions to Ask When Developing Your Content Strategy

Use your content audit to answer these questions — they will inform your content marketing strategy:

  • Which parts of your site generate the most traffic and which pages convert the most users?
  • Are there pages or posts within your site that bounce users away? Why?
  • Which content can be optimized to improve its ranking?
  • Are there pages that could be consolidated to minimize overlap?
  • Which pages lack relevancy and could be removed from the site altogether?
  • Which posts and pages rank best and engage users the most?
  • Which pages and posts on your site “should” be ranking, but aren’t?
  • Are there gaps within your content strategy you can fill with new content?
  • Can you identify and prioritize the content assets of a new client or campaign?
  • Which pain points within your site, content, and UX can you quickly fix?

After using your content audit to answer these questions, it’s time to write the content strategy.

What Should a Content Strategy Look Like?

A content strategy document combines a broad overview of your goals with detailed tactics. It starts with a general overview of the content audit, along with key points. This summary should include statistics about how much content was audited, the number of pages to be changed, and the metrics you focused on.

From there, you'll need to establish the following:

Then you can dive into detailed tactics and strategies. This is where your keyword research spreadsheet comes back into the picture. It reveals the content gaps and keyword mishaps you can begin to fix and assign as action items within your content strategy.

Clearly communicate which changes are the priority and why so that everyone knows next steps and expectations. 

Curata’s Content Strategy: What We’ve Learned

Curata recently conducted a content audit. We’ve updated our content strategy based on the insights we discovered. Here are some of the takeaways we’ve integrated into our content strategy:

Traffic and Conversions

We found that on our site, pages with the most traffic were mostly “ultimate list” blog posts. The exceptions included evergreen content such as a white paper template blog post, editorial calendar blog post, and a social media guest post by Neal Schaffer.

Other than the guest post, all high-traffic posts have been re-published multiple times and promoted heavily. Our next steps are to track the success of these posts to see how they perform compared to other current posts that could turn evergreen.

We are also examining the promotion strategy for these posts to see if it had an impact. For example, since traffic for the Neal Schaffer blog post is coming from Google organically, we plan on looking more deeply into how it was promoted. We’ll use a three-month period as a benchmark and compare content velocity.

Ranking Optimization Opportunities

We found 147 blog posts without keywords that are ripe for optimization.


We identified pages with high time on page and high views as prime opportunities for repurposing content. Those with high time on page and low views are excellent targets for additional promotion.

Most Proven Topics By:

1) Sessions

  • Social media platform
  • Web content
  • Editorial Calendar
  • Successful content marketer

2) Leads Touched

  • Social media variations
  • Content marketing tool
  • Content marketing platform

3) Pipeline Touched

  • Social media variations
  • Content marketing tool

Our strategy also includes a section on page authority outliers as well as tests, new content ideas, and strategy recommendations.

Next Steps

Continue to update your strategy document as you get results from the new tactics you’re implementing. If you don’t already have one, a documented content strategy such as The Content Marketing Pyramid will be useful for your content audit.

Conduct another audit in six months to a year and repeat the process. Regardless of how you go about it, remember that content audits done right will significantly change your approach to content strategies and teams.

As the results from your data come in, you'll need to have actionable insights ready to adopt. This eBook, The Future of Content Marketing offers insights and examples of excellence. Start using it today!

eConsultancy Future of Content Marketing

Featured image source: Pexels

Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud

Visualization Techniques to Communicate Data

So here’s the deal: you’ve spent a ton of time with your data and you know it inside out. You’ve wrangled, sliced and diced it and are now the expert with this data for this problem. You’ve uncovered new, actionable insights that will lead to fantastic opportunities or improve your bottom line. Great! Time to show your colleagues or your boss or your clients these findings.

You open your data tool of choice, quickly create some charts and make it all look pretty with a flashy color scheme or fancy logos. More often than not, we fly through this final stage and don’t give the data visualization step the due care it needs. This is insane!

Think about it. Your charts and dashboards are most likely the only piece of information your boss or client will interact with. The only information! And yet, here we are, creating default charts and missing the opportunity to really convey our message.

Effective charts are a compelling way to show your data. The human brain is simply better at retaining and recalling information that has been presented visually.

Sales chart year-over-year comparison

In this article I will discuss several techniques that will help you create more effective charts to communicate the underlying data.There’s no big secret here. However, by applying deliberate thought, a handful of best practices, and allocating sufficient time in projects for the data visualization step, you can make a big difference to the impact of your charts.

Plan your approach

Before firing up your favorite data visualization software, it pays to spend some time thinking about your output and your goals. Start by answering a few simple questions:

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What medium will you use to show your charts? (e.g. slides / dashboard / report etc.)
  • What is the goal of this project?

For example, consider the audience who will view your chart. How long will they have to study it? How familiar are they with the data? Are they technically inclined? Do they want detailed charts, or quick summaries?

You want to optimize your message to resonate with your audience, so the more you know about them, the more likely you’ll be able to achieve that.

Likewise, how you deliver your message will affect your decisions. Is it a chart in a slide deck? In an informal email? A formal report? An interactive dashboard?

Reports and dashboards are typically pored over for longer periods of time, so charts and findings can be more detailed, whereas presentations or client pitches are short and sweet, where the audience will only have a moment to understand and absorb the information.

Lastly, think about what your end goal is. What do you want your audience to do with the information you show them? For example, if you want your manager to make a cost-benefit decision for a new hire or expensive research tool, make sure your solution answers the question and facilitates making that decision.

Deliberately focus the viewer’s attention

Remember, the point of your visualizations is to communicate information, and you can ensure they do that more effectively by giving prominence to the key message within your chart.

You can do this by using attributes, for example color, to highlight specific elements of your charts and focus your audience’s attention there. These are known as pre-attentive attributes, and they dramatically help speed up the absorption of information.

Consider this chart showing the open rates for four newsletters that you manage. There’s an important story in there, but it’s difficult to see with the default colors:

Newsletter open rates chart

However, by carefully using colors, we can bring that story to the fore:

Newsletter open rates with color

Add context to aid understanding

Consider the two charts above, showing email newsletter open rates. The second chart also has a heading that adds context to the story. The words complement the chart and reinforce the message.

Much like writing titles for your blog posts or newsletters, think about the title of your chart in the same way. It should tell the viewer what to expect in your chart and summarize the message.

Similarly, your data may have unexpected spikes or dips, so you might want to use annotations directly on the data points or as footnotes, to make sure the viewers have all the context they need.

Reduce clutter in charts

Renowned data visualization pioneer Edward Tufte coined the term data-ink ratio to convey the ratio of ink needed to tell the core message in your display, divided by the total ink in the display. The idea is to maximize this ratio, in other words, reduce the amount of non-essential ink.

Let’s see that in practice. Compare the following two charts showing Amazon’s revenue between 2007 and 2016:

Amazon revenue cluttered

After decluttering, the annual revenue figures jump out at the viewer and the information is much quicker to absorb:

Amazon revenue chart after decluttering

Avoid using overly complex charts for the sake of it

There are a lot of complex chart types out there: waterfall charts, radar charts, box and whisker plots, bubble graphs, steamgraphs, tree maps, pareto charts, etc. etc.

Sometimes these may be appropriate for specific cases (e.g. a Sankey chart to show web traffic flow) but it really comes back to the question of who your intended audience is and what medium you’ll be showing your chart through.

Does this radar chart really communicate your message well? Would a simple bar chart, which is widely understood, be a better alternative?

Radar chart example

Whenever I teach a dataviz class, I always say that a good chart should be like a good joke: it should be understood without you having to explain it.

Is that pie chart really the best choice?

Pie charts are popular and ubiquitous, but somewhat maligned by the data visualization community. Why is that?

Consider this default pie chart in Data Studio, showing website Sessions broken out by Medium:

Bad pie chart example

This chart (and pie charts in general), have two main drawbacks: 1) it’s hard as human beings to decipher the relative sizes of the slices (and the order and position of them affects this), and 2) the long tail is unreadable. Plus, the legend is ugly to look at.

A much better chart for data with many categories and a long-tail would be a standard bar chart. Nothing fancy here, but it’s super quick and easy to read off the values, especially for the smaller categories (e.g. compare trying to understand email sessions in the pie chart vs. the bar chart).

Bar chart to replace pie chart

So if you’re going to use them, restrict pie charts to small numbers of categories (I’d advise three or less), and always ask yourself if a simple bar chart or table would suffice and be quicker to read.

Be careful with dual axes charts

Dual axes charts should be used with caution as they often cause confusion. It’s tempting to use them when trying to chart data series with large size differences, as shown in the following image. Which series goes with which axis? Lines that overlap will also confer meaning that doesn’t actually exist, because the series are on different scales.

Dual axis confusion

Some strategies you can use to mitigate confusion include matching the series and axes with different colors, labeling the axes clearly and even using different chart types for the different series (line with a bar).

However, I’d still advocate only using them sparingly. It’s often better to show the two series in separate charts next to each other.

When to start the y-axis at 0

For bar charts, you should always start the y-axis at 0 since the height of the bar represents the count in that category. We look at the height of the bars and compare them. If one bar is twice the height of the other, then we’re going to conclude that the value of that category is twice the value of the other category, even if the axis shows otherwise.

Consider this simple example. Both bar charts have been plotted from the same data but they tell very different stories:

Truncated y-axis

Vox Media created an excellent video about truncating the y-axis. With line charts we don’t need to be so strict with truncated y-axes as the visual lines are used to compare trends, not actual values, as in the case of bars. Indeed you sometimes need to narrow the range with line charts to show the story.

Remember to consider the color blind

Approximately 10% of the male population and 1% of the female population identify as color-blind, and the most common type is Red-Green color-blind. So it pays to keep this in mind when designing your charts.

Closing Thoughts

Once you’ve created your charts, or your dashboard, pause and ask yourself these few questions:

  • Is it effective at communicating your message?
  • Is it efficient at communicating your message?
  • Ultimately, does the audience benefit from seeing your visualization?

There is no single right answer with data visualizations, as it will depend on many of the factors discussed above. People will come out with different charts from the same dataset, all of which could be equally effective. However, by following some best practices and thinking critically about your charts, you can improve them dramatically.

I’ll leave you with some parting words from a master in this field:

“Above all else show the data” Edward Tufte

Sales chart year-over-year comparison
Sales chart year-over-year comparison

Online Behavior – Marketing Measurement & Optimization

Breaking the Digital Fourth Wall Through Experiential Storytelling

The fourth wall is the space that separates a performer or performance from an audience. A character, actor, author or storyteller “breaks the fourth wall” when they address the audience directly. 

As an analyst, author, blogger, podcaster and creator, I am by default, in the content business. Dedicating time to produce my work matters not if no one happens upon it. But once someone discovers my work, it must convincingly pierce the fourth wall between the medium and them to connect and inspire a meaningful reaction.

Publishing for an audience of one is critical these days. People must believe that they are heard, validated and in some way, part of the artifact…as if I was able to put words to what they were thinking or feeling. But it takes more than engagement. In an era of social media, the ability (and gift) to talk to one person unlocks the ability to talk to many others like them.

Creators must appreciate that everyone now has an audience with an audience of audiences. Thus is social networking. The ability to talk to and through someone is now an art form and a very special and mindful approach to shared storytelling. To shift from impressions to expressions, takes a different level of thoughtful and empathetic design. We now must consider content that breaks the fourth wall between producer and audience and also between audience and their audiences.

I wanted to share a recent and personal presentation I shared at Facebook HQ in Silicon Valley. I learned a lot in the development of WTF and X and I hope I can, in some way, help you better and more genuinely connect with your audience of audiences. Plus there’s a bonus “10 Commandments of Marketing” at the end.

About Brian

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Designexplores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

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Brian Solis