We've all created a graph before and thought: Does this work? My advice when this situation arises is to seek feedback. Find a colleague or friend and show them your visual; have them talk out loud about what they see, where they pay attention, what questions they have. Their comments will help you understand whether the visual you've created is doing what you hoped it would, or in the case where it isn't, provide insight into where to concentrate your iterations.
A screenshot of the landing page at HelpMeViz.
Jon Schwabish has brought this critical feedback loop online, with his recently launched site, HelpMeViz, which was designed to "facilitate discussion, debate, and collaboration from the data visualization community." Anyone can post a visual they'd like feedback on, or an idea to help others who have submitted content (and note that anyone really means anyone: the site is not intended exclusively for data viz experts, but rather anyone who wants to receive or provide feedback). In addition to work-in-progress, the project is also open to published projects, so if you've completed work and want to see a sort of post-hoc on how others might have approached it, HelpMeViz can facilitate that as well.
I love the concept, and it's great to click through the submissions that have been posted so far, as well as read the dialogue they have inspired through reader comments. In some cases, HelpMeViz is also prompting full makeovers, such as the one published on Peltier Tech Blog this morning (link).
Congrats to my friend Jon Schwabish for providing this platform (and thank you for the many hours you've devoted to get it to where it is!). I'm excited to continue to watch it grow and read and participate in the dialogue.
To you, Reader,HelpMeViz is an incredible resource that I hope you will leverage!