The Dataviz Extravaganza 2-part podcast series
Johanna Morariu and I joined Maria Gajewski and Ruth Terry for their Story By Numbers podcast series. To stay up to date on all the Story by Numbers podcasts, be sure to subscribe in iTunes.
Listen to the Part 1 recording here: changing-river.com/2012/09/the-dataviz-extravaganza-part-1/.
Some of the major topics covered in Part 1 include:
- What is DataViz? Any method of putting data into a visual form can be considered DataViz, from the humble pie chart to complex infographics.
- How do I decide what type of chart to use? Just switching your default from a pie chart to a bar chart is good first step. For complex data, Johanna shared her favorite web resources: How to Select the Right Chart for Your Data; Chart Suggestions – A Thought Starter; and the Juice Labs Chart Chooser.
Listen to the Part 2 recording here: changing-river.com/2012/09/the-dataviz-extravaganza-part-2/.
Some of the major topics covered in Part 2 include:
- Lousy data infect good data. Johanna and Ann recommend collecting less data (the biggest surprise to me!) and focusing on quality over quantity. They also believe that simple software like Microsoft Excel is best for most small nonprofits. If you really want to dig into software, however, Innovation Network has a great resource: Software for Nonprofit Evaluation and Case Management.
Fit your graphics to the audience and purpose. You may need to compromise on the most “correct” way of displaying data to make it accessible to your target audience. Don’t forget no/low tech options such as having audience members color in bar charts or creating a social network map with markers and string.
A really great viz isn’t great if no one uses it.
- Visualizations do not = truth!!! An important point. It is very possible to manipulate data visualizations. As designers, we need to be careful to present information in an unbiased manner that does not lead the audience to unwarranted conclusions.
- Embrace and use workaday vizualizations. If you’re just presenting to staff at a planning session, you can save yourself a lot of time and money by using a draft version of a chart. Save the most polished work for broader audiences and marketing.
For more detail on these points, check out Johanna’s presentation from the Nonprofit Technology Conference, Picturing Your Data Is Better Than 1,000 Numbers.