Even very experienced business, financial and data analysts often create graphs that are hard to read, that don’t clearly communicate the graph creator’s point, insight or story, or that unintentionally leave audiences with an incorrect understanding of the underlying data. While the fundamental principles and best practices necessary to avoid these problems aren’t complex, they’re not intuitive either and need to be learned.
Designed by Stephen Few, updated by Nick Desbarats, and based on the foundational book of the same name, Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten equips participants with the best practices and fundamental principles that enable them to easily create tables and graphs that:
Are quick and easy for audiences to understand
Make key insights and stories within data clear and obvious
Minimize the risk that audiences will be left with an incorrect understanding of the underlying data or be uncertain of how to interpret the graph
Anyone who creates tables and graphs as a regular part of their work, including business and financial analysts, business intelligence and data analysts, executives, project managers, software developers, user experience designers, as well as human resources, marketing, sales, operations and finance professionals. Other professionals, such as researchers, journalists, health care professionals and educators will also benefit. No prior technical or data visualization knowledge is required. Experienced analysts will also benefit from the workshop since having deep data analysis expertise does not necessarily mean that an analyst has mastered the skills necessary to communicate data effectively to others.
Determining when to present data as a table and when to present it as a graph
Selecting the most appropriate type of graph for various situations based on the nature of the underlying data and the message to be communicated, as well as the needs, role, and level of sophistication of the audience
Making visual design choices that make graphs easier to visually process, such as minimizing visual “noise” and designing visualizations with strong visual hierarchies
Avoiding common graph design mistakes such as choosing inappropriate quantitative scales and misusing color
Designing tables for easy visual consumption
Handling common data visualization challenges such as visualizing missing data, data that spans a very wide range, and large numbers of values
Techniques for making the key insights and stories within visualizations more obvious to audiences
This is not a graphic design course. The emphasis is on designing highly functional tables and graphs for audiences that are clear, useful, and easy to read, and that are unlikely to be misinterpreted. The course does not address creating graphs that are artistically beautiful or eye-catching (but often less functional).
This is not a software product training course. The fundamental principles and best practices of good data visualization design all apply when creating visualizations using any modern data visualization software product.
This course does not teach participants how to create complex, esoteric chart types. Simple, familiar graphs are almost always the most effective choices for the day-to-day visualization needs of most organizations.
This course focuses on teaching participants how to create individual tables and graphs for communicating data to target audiences. For training on information dashboard design or using data visualization to analyze (as opposed to communicate) data, please see the information pages for the Information Dashboard Design and Now You See It courses, respectively.
Many information dashboards fail to satisfy those who use them and are often under-utilized or abandoned after just a few months. This is a sad reality indeed since dashboards have the potential to significantly improve the effectiveness of users and save them a great deal of time.
Designed by Stephen Few, updated by Nick Desbarats, and based on the foundational book of the same name, Information Dashboard Design equips workshop participants with the fundamental principles and best practices that enable them to design information dashboards that:
Can be reviewed by users quickly and without forcing them to click through filters and selectors that erode productivity and long-term dashboard traction
Make problems and opportunities within the organization “pop” so that they get noticed
Enable users to see potentially causal relationships between metrics to help determine why a problem has occurred and how to respond to it
Anyone who is responsible for creating information dashboards for users within or outside of their organization. Workshop participants may be software developers, user interface designers, business intelligence professionals, data analysts or have other, similar roles. Executives or others who consume dashboards will also find the workshop to be of value since it will enable them to ask for dashboard designs that help them to be more effective at their jobs. Those who are or will be engaged in a dashboard development product evaluation process will find this course to be of particular value.
The definition of what a dashboard is (and isn’t), and what a dashboard should do as opposed what should be left to other types of information displays
Effective dashboard organization and layout practices that enable rapid visual scanning, with examples of well-designed dashboards
Compact information display techniques that enable large numbers of metrics to be shown on a single screen
Graph types that work well on dashboards and those that don’t
The importance of displaying contextual values such as targets, historical averages, and the like alongside current values to highlight metrics that require attention
Steps in the dashboard design process
13 common dashboard design mistakes and how to avoid them
This is not a software product training course. The fundamental principles and best practices of good dashboard design apply when creating dashboards using any modern dashboard development technology.
The emphasis is on creating highly functional information dashboards and not on creating visually impressive or highly interactive (but often less useful) information displays.
While many people assume that data analysis requires advanced statistical knowledge, the reality is that 90% of day-to-day analytical needs that arise in organizations can be met using simple, visual techniques.
Designed by Stephen Few, updated by Nick Desbarats, and based on the book of the same name, Now You See It equips workshop participants with the skills needed to explore data to discover valuable new insights and answer the most common types of analytical questions using simple yet powerful graph types and data visualization techniques.
Anyone who is --or would like to be-- responsible for making sense of data, finding useful insights and meaning within it, and quickly answering the most common types of analytical questions that arise within organizations. While business, financial and data analysts obviously fall within this group, workshop participants often include people from all parts of the organization, including finance, marketing, sales, human resources and operations. Other professionals, such as researchers, journalists, health care providers and educators will also benefit.
No special knowledge or skills are required in order to attend this workshop, although participants should have experience creating simple charts using popular data visualization software products.
No laptop required. Pen and paper will be provided.
Light breakfast and lunch daily.
Coffee. Fresh fruit available throughout the day.