Histomaps

The histomap is one of the oldest, and most famous, ways to present qualitative data over time. The first example was created by John B. Sparks in 1931, titled “The Histomap: Four Thousand Years of World History.” At the time it was printed, the chart was marketed as a clear,…

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Graph Text Should Be Horizontal

In languages based on the Latin alphabet, we read horizontally, from left to right. Reading on a diagonal produces cramped necks. Reading vertical text is just not going to happen. So, as much as possible, the text in our graphs should be horizontal. Let’s walk through a demo. I was…

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The Link Between Graphic Design and Report Use

Though I have a PhD, I left academia to become a consultant and it was the best decision I ever made. But I’m still a research nerd at heart so when I had a chance to run a study that examined the link between graphic design and report use, I…

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Book to Read: Designing Quality Survey Questions

I still have a landline. I’m not an old, but I conduct a lot of webinars about data visualization and reporting and the sound quality is so much better on a landline. But it is a midterm election year which means my phone has been ringing several times every day…

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Capture Qualitative Data with Change Photos

Evergreen Data’s Jenny Lyons is back with more ideas for visualizing qualitative data. Engaging our audiences in the complex, intricate stories of our qualitative data can be difficult. Make qualitative comparisons come alive with change photos or graphics. The hurricane this past year in Puerto Rico left many devastated and…

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Ways to Visualize Cost-Benefit

Cost-benefit analysis a way of saying “Yes, this program has great impacts… but it’s super expensive.” You’ll often hear the results of cost-benefit analysis in the news, phrased as “For every dollar we spend on this program, we save $$$.” Clients at the University of Alaska, Anchorage (I HAVE THE…

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Data + Food

I like to think I’m a foodie but actually I just love to eat. We all do! Food gets people to the meeting. Food grabs folks’ attention. Food gets people talking (between bites, let’s hope). So let’s play to the player and figure out how to get people engaged in…

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Sidebars are Your Friend

Sidebars are an unsung hero of reporting. Sidebars are a way to offload details such as your methods or caveats about your data that are related but not a direct part of the narrative. Sidebars are not call out boxes. Call out boxes are for giving a tiny shout out…

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Why No One is Reading Your Report

Here’s the hard truth: Your report probably sucks. Mine sure did. The heart of your content is likely fine, maybe even helpful. But, if you are anything like the hundreds of reports I see every year, the entire set of cultural norms we have somehow developed around reporting is just…

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Use Proximity for Better Data Storytelling

Recent clients, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, faced a design problem so common they didn’t even know it was a problem. They were working on communicating some data from a program that aims to educate on healthy sexuality and reproductive health. They surveyed participants at the start and end of…

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