Effective data visualization
Make beautiful, effective graphs using ggplot2 and the grammar of graphics.
Take this course
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In this course, you will learn how to make beautiful, effective graphs using ggplot2 and the grammar of graphics. We want to help you bring the plots living inside your head to life. To do this, we teach not only the technical skills of writing the code, but also how the human perceptual system works. The point of a visualization is to get data off the page and into your head. Therefore, it is important to understand the limitations of the human brain and how it will interpret the graphics you create.
- How to work with the human sensory system to create clear, effective graphics
- Customizing every aspect of a ggplot2 graph using layers, scales, coordinate systems, annotations, and themes
- Spotting and avoiding common mistakes in graph construction
What will you learn?
Through a series of lectures, demonstrations and hands-on exercises, you will learn to use ggplot2 to quickly build, polish, and customize R graphics. This course won’t just teach you how to make graphs, but also how to think critically about graph construction and communication. About half the class will be spent learning advanced ggplot2 skills. The other half will be spent learning about perception and practicing your skills by critiquing, recreating, and improving existing graphics.
Graphical perception - R and ggplot2 offer an extremely high level of customization. To make the most of this freedom - and to avoid misleading, confusing plots - you’ll need to understand what makes an effective graphic.
- Understand the strengths and weaknesses of the human sensory system
- Spot and avoid common graph construction problems
- Work with color to mitigate the effects of color blindness
- Critique and improve existing graphics
Grammar of graphics - Graphics resemble mathematics and computer programming because they are shaped by an underlying logic. If you understand this logic, you can write simple, efficient code for producing graphs.
- Use the basic structure of graphs to create thousands of types of plots
- Display complicated data in a clear fashion by layering components together
- Expand your ggplot2 vocabulary to encompass new geoms and statistical transformations
Polishing plots - All graphs must communicate an idea. You can help a graph communicate by purposefully adjusting the appearance of a plot.
- Control appearance of ggplot2 plots with a theming system
- Annotate plots with text, images, and even other plots
- Customize legends, axes, and labels
- Understand scales and coordinate systems
- Craft plots for maximum presentation impact
Who should take this course?
You’ll get the most out of this class if you’ve already created a number of graphics with ggplot2 (particularly if you’ve only used
qplot). You should know how to get your data into R, and have performed at least a couple of successful data analyses.
If this isn’t you, consider taking our Intro to data science with R course.
All participants who register for Effective data visualization will receive lifetime access to all the slides, exercises, data sets, and R scripts used in the course.