A2 Radio: Deliver More Effective Visualizations


I suppose there are two ways an analytics pro can look at visualization. One could view it as window dressing to satisfy business unit managers who just don't understand data. Or, someone could view visualization as the unveiling of results from their hard, smart work.

I'll guarantee that the first approach will result in a sloppy presentation, leave the business manager confused, and doom the valuable but underutilized data to the trashbin. Worse, a business problem won't get solved, and that business manager is going to think twice before calling on the "numbers guys" in analytics for any future help.

What could possibly go wrong with delivery of data? The business manager could get a 20-tab spreadsheet simply loaded with numbers. An analyst could present a screenshot showing 87 colored, overlapping bubbles of varying sizes that the business manager sees as just a bunch of bubbles. You could display an animated map of the globe, turning and flashing lights representing cities all over the world. With no accompanying explanation, the business manager will simply see a bunch of lights.

In a recent blog, Misunderstood? Try Data Storytelling, Lisa Morgan highlighted the importance of storytelling as a means to deliver data.

Sometimes visualization alone isn't enough. And, sometimes the visualization itself simply is lacking.

So, what makes a good visualization?

Scott Berinato has some ideas, and is ready to share some best practices in visualization. Berinato is a senior editor with the Harvard Business Review and a self-described dataviz geek. He also is author of the book Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations, in which he shares best practices in dataviz.

Berinato joins All Analytics Radio on Thursday, October 13, at 2 pm EDT to discuss those best practices.

In preparation for the Thursday show, he has shared some examples of poor visualizations that he improved. Check out these three before and after samples that he will reference in his chat.

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

Register now. Then join us on Thursday for my interview with Scott Berinato, and bring your questions about best practices in visualization.

James M. Connolly, Editor of All Analytics

Jim Connolly is a versatile and experienced technology journalist who has reported on IT trends for more than two decades. As editor of All Analytics he writes about the move to big data analytics and data-driven decision making. Over the years he has covered enterprise computing, the PC revolution, client/server, the evolution of the Internet, the rise of web-based business, and IT management. He has covered breaking industry news and has led teams focused on product reviews and technology trends. Throughout his tech journalism career, he has concentrated on serving the information needs of IT decision-makers in large organizations and has worked with those managers to help them learn from their peers and share their experiences in implementing leading-edge technologies through publications including Computerworld. Jim also has helped to launch a technology-focused startup, as one of the founding editors at TechTarget, and has served as editor of an established news organization focused on technology startups and the Boston-area venture capital sector at MassHighTech. A former crime reporter for the Boston Herald, he majored in journalism at Northeastern University.

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Re: effective visualizations
  • 10/14/2016 9:28:27 AM
NO RATINGS

There was a dramatic difference in the understanding of the before and after charts. I found the after charts much better with the exception of the "before" beer chart which somehow seemed clearer to me than the after. I could find the park and the prices rather quickly in that "old fashioned" beer bar chart.

effective visualizations
  • 10/13/2016 1:52:50 PM
NO RATINGS

I'm looking forward to the radio show on this!

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