You’re welcome to use whichever tools you prefer for your data visualizations, but these are the tools with which Francesca and Prof. Posner have the most experience and recommend:
You can get pretty far with Excel’s built-in charts and graphs. They often don’t look wonderful, but if they work, they work!
Google Fusion Tables makes a great starting point, especially for simpler charts, like pie charts and bar charts. You can’t do a ton of customization, but you can produce results with just a few clicks. Here’s a basic tutorial.
Tableau has a lot of advanced features and documentation. If you want to install it on your own laptop, choose Tableau Public. This tool can be a little overwhelming at first, but UCLA’s Lynda library has video tutorials; you might start with “Up and Running with Tableau.”
You can make some really cool graphs and charts with RAW, and it’s easy to embed them on a website.
Plot.ly is a newer, web-based dataviz tool that has a lot of cool features, and it’s pretty easy to get started with it. It’s a little bit hard to tell from the website, but Plot.ly is free for unlimited public charts. Plus, you can easily embed them on a website.
I love Palladio, but it’s important to understand what it is and what it isn’t. It’s designed for the exploration (not necessarily the presentation) of humanities data. So while you can produce some impressive visualizations, you can’t really embed them. (You can take screenshots, though!)
If you want to compare and contrast many images with each other, you can try ImagePlot, but just be aware that it’s not super-easy to use and we haven’t tested it in awhile.
Want MOAR TOOLS? Here’s a huge list.
Whatever tool, you choose, be sure you pick the right visualization for your data.