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Visual Literacy

Visual literacy, the ability to interpret charts and images, varies widely among and within different populations. Visual literacy is a skill that is learned.

While some audiences may be familiar and comfortable with some chart types, others may be less so. In some cases, your audience may be comfortable navigating familiar chart types or novel visualizations. For other audiences, it may be best to walk your audience through the stages or features of a given visualization. While for some audiences, a visual or pictorial representation may be preferable to geometric abstraction.

Finally, in some cases it may be best not to use a chart at all and simply present a key data point directly.

The best way to determine the visual literacy of your audience is to test your visuals with representatives of your audience before finalizing your publication.