Easy Bullet Charts in Excel


Here is what a normal bullet chart looks like: There are usually areas of performance in the background (acceptable/unacceptable, in this case), a target line, and an actual bar the represents your real value. Bullet charts kick ass for showing part-to-whole relationships for single data points, especially in long lists of metrics, like dashboards. Sure, there is a bullet chart tutorial here, but I found it pretty complicated. And one here that’s fairly straightforward but, as an Excel graph, it takes some extra steps to resize or copy the graph with the data. There’s also a plug-in that makes bullet

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Posted in charts, Communicating Findings, dashboard

Largest Photo Service Gives Images Away for “Free”

Last month the world’s largest photo service announced that it would be giving away it’s photos for free. Say what?? Well, it was something like that. Get excited, but not too much. Getty Images announced that a portion of its gigantic, high-quality collection would be available at no cost. Sounds too good to be true – and it is, just a little. Here’s the deal: You are allowed to embed certain photos on your social media platforms, webpages, or blogs, like this: (This, by the way, is beautiful Lake Michigan, where last week  BP spilled thousands of gallons of oil.)

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Posted in Communicating Findings, slideshows

Adding Standard Deviation to a Dataviz


Do you need to communicate your standard deviations to your audience? No, I mean, really DO YOU? Think hard about that because chances are your audience doesn’t give a crap. They want to know you calculated your standard deviations. They want to know you were meticulous in your number crunching. But most likely they do not want you to actually tell them the standard deviation. Tuck that ish in an appendix or something. But in the rare circumstance where your audience really does want to see your standard deviations, here’s a pretty easy way to visualize them in your graph

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Posted in charts, Communicating Findings

Boil the Lobster Font


I swear to god, I loved this font in early 2013 and now it is everywhere and I want it to die. The Lobster font is/was wicked cute. It’s got personality. It’s friendly. It reminds me of Pinterest. But that’s the thing about fonts – their personality speaks for whatever it is they have been applied to. Lobster has been spread too thin and as a result has now become a bit generic. Let me show you what I mean. I used Lobster in the 2012 personal annual report I produced January 2013. It’s the font on “Stephanie Evergreen’s” and

Posted in Communicating Findings, font

Findings Cookies


If food can get people to meetings, maybe it can get people interested in evaluation findings, too. Introducing, the Findings Cookie. The recipe is pretty straightforward, though you’ll want to adjust the number of servings for your audience. I messed up a lot on the first several, so best to give yourself advance time to prototype your cookie before you have to serve it to a stakeholder. For instance, my oven only needed 4 minutes, not the recommended 5-6. I inserted folded statements of findings from the evaluation, rather than fortunes. Each cookie held a different statement so that the

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Posted in charts, Communicating Findings, Evaluation

Data Nerd Valentine’s Cards


Is your sweetheart a little on the data nerd side? I mean, aren’t we all? Here’s the perfect way to show your honey how much you appreciate him or her – even when buried in a statistics book. Data Nerd Valentine’s Cards. Like my Data Nerd Holiday Cards, these are available through Red Bubble, who will ship with envelopes and give discounts on bulk orders (though I guess if you need to bulk order for Valentine’s maybe we need to talk). UNLIKE the holidays cards, some of these may be, uh, a little not suitable for work. Click a card

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Posted in charts

Guest Post: Using Visual Communication to Increase Evaluation Utilization


Hi! I’m Nate Wilairat with EMI Consulting in Seattle. We work with cities and utilities to evaluate energy programs and policies. I just started a data viz blog called Skopia. This blog post presents a few lessons learned from a successful effort to develop executive summaries for one of our clients. We went from 200-page reports on the shelf to 3-page summaries pinned on the wall. The key? Focus on utilization. Focus on Utilization A utilization-focused executive summary needs to provide the right information to the right decision-maker. Following Michael Quinn Patton’s utilization-focused evaluation process, the first step is to identify

Posted in charts, Communicating Findings, dashboard

My 2013 Personal Annual Report


Holy crap, 2013 was a busy year! Look what I’ve been up to – and click around: So, to recap, I’m prrrreeeetttttty sure I don’t have to publish one more thing until 2015. Whew. Some technical notes: Last year I made my annual report in Adobe Illustrator. The year before that, I used Microsoft Word. This year I used PowerPoint – yeah, PowerPoint! I hear of more and more people who can’t or don’t want to pay for access to Adobe and turn to PowerPoint as a layout tool so I thought I’d give it a try. And for sure,

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Posted in Communicating Findings, dashboard, slideshows

Before & After: Jody Fitzpatrick’s Presidential Keynote Slides


I get the lucky privilege of working with the president of the American Evaluation Association on his or her keynote slidedeck. I love this small project each fall for a couple of reasons. Thus far, the presidents I’ve worked with have been wicked smart and eager to see the field grow and working with clients like that rocks. Also, they readily admit they need help with their slides. This year, I collaborated with Jody Fitzpatrick. We were starting from scratch – no existing slide content to have to reshape. So I asked her to rough out her content on each

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Posted in charts, color, Communicating Findings, Evaluation, font, slideshows

Data Nerd Holiday Cards


Do you sit around with your data nerd friends and come up with funny statistics- and data visualization-based jokes? No? Maybe it’s just me. But to your benefit! I illustrated those nerd jokes and put them on holiday cards, available on Redbubble. Click the pic to go shopping. Here’s one for your favorite data nerd sweetheart: Here’s one for your dataviz friends (note the acceptable use of a pie chart): And one more for your clients, to remind them that you are not just any nerd, but a humorous and thoughtful one at that: You can order 4″ x 6″

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Posted in charts, Communicating Findings, Evaluation

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In Print!

My book is out! My book is out!

Presenting Data Effectively

Published by Sage, October 2013

I coedited something!

New Directions for Evaluation

Data Visualization Part 1

Released September 20

Out now!

New Directions for Evaluation

Data Visualization Part 2

Released December 21, 2013

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