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Super Fast Small Multiple Graphs in Excel

Every time I show this trick to even veteran Excel ninjas, their heads explode. So you have probably heard me preach the gospel of small multiples once or twice before. Breaking a clutter-y graph into a lot of smaller graphs that show one piece of data at…

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Pre-Work Checklists

I have learned all of these lessons the hard way. I now have two checklists I run through before I have a workshop. One handles logistics and it’ll only be useful if you also run workshops. The other helps me determine whether a potential client and I are a good…

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No Unnecessary Lines

The Lines section of the Data Visualization Checklist helps us enhance reader interpretability by handling a lot of the junk, or what Edward Tufte called the “noise” in the graph. I’m referring to all of the parts of the graph that don’t actually display data or assist reader cognition. Create more readability by deleting unnecessary lines.   The default…

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Intentionally Order Your Data

Listen, no one cares about the order we listed the response options on the survey. But most graphs, especially those automatically generated from survey software, showcase the data in that order. And that isn’t useful for anyone trying to interpret the data. Instead, place the bars in order from…

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2019 Call for Mentees

Did you see Vice? There’s a scene (this is no spoiler) in which a young Dick Cheney and Antonin Scalia share a sickening laugh as they agree to an interpretation of the Constitution that allowed a massive power grab for a president. It’s gross. It’s cringe-y. The most disturbing…

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I Failed

This is not news. Today. Yesterday. Every day. I fail all the time. I have so many data visualization fails that I’m already planning a conference talk called The Compromises I’ve Made. I published some of my failures in a book edited by Kylie Hutchinson. This is an excerpt…

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My 2018 Personal Annual Report

This is my last personal annual report. I’ll tell you why. This year most of my metrics went down. At first, due to cultural conditioning that says “more is always better,” I was like Oh no! Before I go further, let’s pause and break that down. I’ve been creating…

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Building a Culture of Effective Data Visualization

The most frustrating part of attending one of my workshops is that you learn so many awesome ways of communicating data, you learn exactly what buttons to push to make it happen, you get hyped up on glee and data vizardry… and then the existing organizational culture stops you from…

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We Need More Research on Data Visualization

Stephanie’s Note: Dr. Sena Sanjines just wrapped up her dissertation, part of which measured whether my Data Visualization Checklist is worth its salt. Here are her findings. My name is Sena Sanjines and I’m an evaluator in Hawai‘i slightly obsessed with figuring out what makes people use, or not use,…

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Journey Maps

Stephanie’s Note: This blog post, guest authored by Jenny Lyons, is part of our ongoing effort to identify, explore, and popularize qualitative data visualization possibilities. See our collection of qualitative viz options here.  A journey map is one of the most bad-ass visuals I know about. With origins in…

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