More on visitor reporting: data visualisation

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Image: Innovation Network

Following up from my previous blog post on dashboards, Reporting Visitor Data: are Dashboards (one) Answer?, I came across some writings about data visualisation with some handy tips around changing the way data is collected and reported on.

First, Building a Culture of Effective Data Visualisation, by Stephanie Evergreen of Evergreen Data, notes that when applying visualisation to your data, think about the following:

  • Acknowledge fears – change is hard and people are unlikely to change until their hesitations are acknowledged
  • Remember that “… people have to take time out of their busy lives to learn new skills. People are already overwhelmed with work and this would be (at least, initially) adding more to their schedules”

One tip it to make the timeline and sequence of reporting steps clear so that people could see what to expect when designing a dashboard / visualisation

And something really important – make the best of the tools you already have – this will help in managing change and acknowledging fears as they don’t really have to learn something new (well, not necessarily…).

Some online resources from Evergreen Data:

This post, 7 Tips To Get Started with Data Visualization by Sara Vaca (via the AEA365 blog), has a set of tips, with the most relevant being to play around with data and visualisation tools, to just get started and that “… your brain, paper and PowerPoint is honestly all you need to start”.

A further AEA365 blog post, Data Visualization: From Sketchbook to Reality by folks from the Innovation Network, details six steps to developing an effective visualisation:

  1. Identify your audience
  2. Select key findings – which are most relevant to you and your audience?
  3. Grab paper and pencil and start to draw the findings in different ways (probably having a look at some examples would be helpful here, also think beyond generic chart formats
  4. Gather feedback on your sketches:
    • What does this visualization tell you?
    • How long did it take you to interpret?
    • How can it be tweaked to better communicate the data?
  5. Think about layout and supporting text
  6. Now digitise the drawings: translate the initial renderings into a digital format using basic software such as PowerPoint, Word, or Excel (at least for the first attempt)

So, planning to use these ideas in a workshop this week, along with my next post, Becoming a data-driven organisation, as more background.

We’ll see how it goes!

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