article / 21 March 2023

Data Visualization Fundamentals and Best Practices Course

When do you use a bar chart over a line chart? What are area charts good for? What's wrong with pie charts? Learn about how these different types of data visualization work, and how they're used, in Observable's first data visualization course! Attend lectures (or watch them later), ask questions, and once you've completed a small assignment at the end, you'll earn a certificate.


  • Five lectures
    • 45 minutes of content
    • 15 minutes Q&A
  • will share notebook from each lecture afterwards
  • assignment at the end to get a certificate (deadline 4/4)

Where to ask questions

Please join the Observable Community Slack and the #data-visualization-fundamentals channel. This is the main place to ask questions and discuss topics related to this course.

To ask questions during the lectures, use the chat window next to the streaming video on YouTube. Feel free to ask your questions as you think of them, we'll pick ones to answer in the last 15 minutes of each lecture. We probably won't get to all of them, but we'll do our best!


Please go through these materials to familiarize yourself with Observable and JavaScript, if you're not already.

The Instructor, "Why You Should Trust Me"

Robert Kosara has been in data visualization as a researcher, teacher, and practitioner for 25 years. He has published in the literature on a number of different topics including novel visualization techniques, perception in visualization, and storytelling. Robert also was a professor of computer science UNC Charlotte for seven years and then spent ten years at Tableau Research, before joining Observable in March 2022.

He is best known for his eagereyes website and YouTube channel, and also active on Twitter and Mastodon.

Recommended books

This list is short on purpose. There are many good books on data visualization, but if you're new to the field, I recommend that you pick only one from this list and spend time reading it.

The Course

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