I got interested in data visualisation after I started appreciating the power of Microsoft Excel. I self-taught Excel entirely through the YouTube channel ‘Excelisfun‘. I then enrolled in Daniel Ferry’s ‘Excel Hero Academy‘ and learnt to a certain extent Excel VBA (visual basic for application).
I quite liked Stephen Few’s books (Show me the numbers, Now you see it) and is a good starting point for anyone interested in data visualisation. He lists various exercises and employs both inexpensive (such as Excel) and expensive softwares (Tableau). Powerpoint Slides on telling stories with numbers can be downloaded here.
Edward Tufte has written several books and I was given ‘The Visual Display of Quantitative Information’ as a gift, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The classic book on statistical graphics, charts, tables. Theory and practice in the design of data graphics, 250 illustrations of the best (and a few of the worst) statistical graphics, with detailed analysis of how to display data for precise, effective, quick analysis. Design of the high-resolution displays, small multiples. Editing and improving graphics. The data-ink ratio. Time-series, relational graphics, data maps, multivariate designs. Detection of graphical deception: design variation vs. data variation. Sources of deception. Aesthetics and data graphical displays.
Tufte on YouTube
The Guardian’s datablog is an excellent reference to start with. I made this simple visualisation using Microsoft Excel 2010 three years ago on the power, water, time and time consumption for various programmes of Panasonic washing machine and compare it with the energy values of food and non-food items.