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Plain Languaging Statistical Jargon

Plain Languaging Statistical Jargon

My main rule of thumb is that you can show measures of variability in your graph so long as you can explain what they mean in an extremely concise subtitle. Translating scientific jargon for a lay audience may be the most challenging aspect of communicating data effectively. Work from some of these suggestions to capture […]
Three Ways to Show Down is Good

Three Ways to Show Down is Good

Humans in the western culture tend to see things that trend upward as positive and lines that trend downward as bad. But what if bad is good? And not like my college boyfriend. But in the sense that a decrease is a good thing. Let’s use the example of weight loss. If you made a […]
Make a Slopegraph in Excel

Make a Slopegraph in Excel

Slopegraphs are a newer graph type with powerhouse capabilities. They rely on Excel’s line graphing feature but they don’t necessarily have to show change over time. Slopegraphs play into our ability to judge slope fairly well. For this reason, they are perfect for highlighting the story of how just one category decreased when others increased, […]
I’m a Woman and I Need Data, Too

I’m a Woman and I Need Data, Too

Dear Good Housekeeping, I needed a few new appliances. My old Shark vacuum cleaner bit the dust for the second time and in the same week my washing machine started eating all my towels. So I was interested in the spread from your Good Housekeeping Research Institute, reporting on its expert tests of different washing machines. You’ve had […]
Theorists Can Have Great Slides Too

Theorists Can Have Great Slides Too

I have the coolest gigs. Every year I get to work with the Eleanor Chelimsky Forum keynote speaker to develop a slidedeck that rocks the house. This year, the keynote speaker was Abe Wandersman. I’d seen Abe present in the past and… let’s just say I knew I would be in for some hard work. […]
How to Make a Short Report a Billion Times More Engaging

How to Make a Short Report a Billion Times More Engaging

Anna Harms knows when the jig is up. Part-way through my 1 day workshop on Presenting Data Effectively, she knew what change had to happen (and fast). So fast, she didn’t hesitate to walk right up to me and say, “We are working so hard on our reports but there’s no way anyone could (or […]
President Obama’s Data Visualization

President Obama’s Data Visualization

I realize it’s completely taboo to write about current events six months after they’ve happen but I DON’T CARE. One of my favorite events of the year is watching the enhanced version of the State of the Union. Not the regular view – the enhanced view. One side of the split screen is the regular […]
When I Don’t Mind Radar Graphs

When I Don’t Mind Radar Graphs

Most of the time, I think radar graph are deployed wrong. They are designed to show percentages along several categories – like a bar graph could – but the axis are distributed around a central point, such that the percentages link together and create a shape. Choosing a radar graph, then, is a decent choice […]
Academia, The Last Bastion of Change

Academia, The Last Bastion of Change

Wherever I travel, without fail, the people who are most resistant to making the necessary changes to present data more effectively are academics. I wish I was kidding. After all, I used to be one. Some of my best friends are academics. Even the young ones who are on board with better design when they […]
Visualizing Tiny Trends Over Time

Visualizing Tiny Trends Over Time

I say: Trend over time? You say: Line graph! I know, that’s how it goes, right? We are so used to seeing trends over time visualized as line graphs that even my 3rd grader can interpret them with ease. But sometimes it helps to have other options that better fit your data. Let’s say you are […]

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