Data Visualisation & Content Marketing Analytics — Datalabs https://www.datalabsagency.com Tue, 03 Jul 2018 06:07:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Data Viz Instagram https://www.datalabsagency.com/articles/10-data-viz-guys-and-gals-to-follow-on-instagram/ Mon, 30 Oct 2017 22:03:31 +0000 http://www.datalabsagency.com/?p=6926 10 Data Viz Guys and Gals to Follow on Instagram Want constant #inspo on your #insta? Follow these awesome data visualisers to keep you movitated.  Read More

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10 Data Viz Guys and Gals to Follow on Instagram

Want constant #inspo on your #insta? Follow these awesome data visualisers to keep you movitated.

 

mona chalabi

Source: monachalabi.com

1. Mona Chalabi

Mona Chalabi is a data editor at The Guardian US and with almost 25,000 Instagram followers, she’s basically the queen of #dataviz on Insta. Mona’s simple but unique style of hand-drawn charts and graphs nicely balance the often-confronting statistics shown in her work. A must-follow.

2. Giorgia Lupi 

giorgi lupi

Source: giorgialupi.com

Giorgia Lupi describes herself as an information designer and is the design director at Accurat. Her Instagram is a nicely curated profile that offers a sneak peek into her data design world.

3. Laurie Frick

laurie frick

Source: lauriefrick.com

Laurie Frick is a renowned data artist, but with only a modest following on Insta, she’s still one to watch. Like Lupi, Frick offers an insight into her data visualising world. Her ‘gram profiles a lot of her work, and we reckon it’s the perfect Insta to follow for instant inspiration!

4. Dear Data 

dear data

Source: dear-data-two.com

The brainchild of Giorgi Lupi (above) and her friend and colleague Stefanie Posave, Dear Data is the perfect reminder of how data viz can – and is – bringing the world a little bit closer together. Get following!

5. A Map a Day

a map a day

Source: amapaday on Instagram

If you’re all about maps, this one’s for you. As the title suggests, A Map a Day posts daily to bring you some good old facts and figures about all things cartography. With over 100,000 followers (!) , this Insta account is proof that the love of all things data viz transcends those just in the biz. Oh, and did we mention it’s run by a (rather anonymous) Geography student from the Netherlands? Yep. Pretty impressive!

6. Antoine Corbineau 

Antoine Corbineau

Source: antoinecorbineau.com

Known for his colourful and abstract map designs, Antoine Corbineau is a French artist with a distinct style that enhances block colours with white space. It’s data viz at its best.

7. Francesco Muzzi

francesco muzzi

Source: squareinchdesign.com

The art director at Wired, Muzzi is famous for his editorial spreads which expertly delivers with a “simple” flat look and pale tones. The result is both powerful and subtle data visualisation. Trust us when we say Muzzi is a must-follow!

 

 

 

8. Fernando Volken Togni

fernando volken togni

Source: rachttlg.com

Fernando Volken Togni is a Brazilian illustrator known for his works that combine geometric shapes with bold, vibrant colours. With a style that is somewhat reminiscent of pictures that would appear in a child’s picture book, his work cannot be understated in the balance and harmony amidst all the ‘chaos’ of his busy illustrations. Bravo!

9. Vesa Sammalisto

vesa sammalisto

Source: synergyart.co.uk

Similar in concept and style to Volken Togni, Vesa Sammalisto’s work is another bright and bold way to liven up your Insta feed. Sammalisto is a Finnish master of illustration, especially when it comes to to cities and landscapes – so giving him a follow is a great way to curve all those predictable holiday snaps on your feed!

10. Sarah Illenberger

sarah illenberger

Source: sarahillenberger.com

Sarah Illenberger is a German data viz guru who uses installations, which are then photographed or presented in public places, to give meaning to data. With a penchant for fruit, vegetables, and everyday objects, Illenberger’s work also relies on soft pastel palettes to counteract the blunt photography style she uses. Whether you’re there for the behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, or just for #aesthetic, Illenberger is one of the greats of data viz on Insta.

Have we missed your favourite?

Comment below to let us know!

And don’t forget to follow us on Insta and sign up to our Newsletter!

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Three Interactive Maps https://www.datalabsagency.com/articles/three-interactive-maps/ Thu, 26 Oct 2017 01:15:03 +0000 http://www.datalabsagency.com/?p=6941 Three Interactive Data Maps Data-driven, Interactive & Animated If you’ve ever spoken to onto the DL team about a project there’s a fair chance we’ve triedRead More

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Three Interactive Data Maps

Data-driven, Interactive & Animated

If you’ve ever spoken to onto the DL team about a project there’s a fair chance we’ve tried to get a map into it somewhere. We like maps. We like the way they can provide scale, context, and navigation in one view. Those are hard things to design for interactive interfaces.

Below are three maps that we’ve built over the past year. They’re very different in design and application.

Simple Animated Map

Animated Map

View live demo >

This map was developed as part of the International Women’s Development Agency’s 2016 digital annual report. It was designed to show the reach of programs undertaken by the IWDA, how they link to one another, and also give a little bit of detail on each, with a link out to the various program websites.

It uses d3.js to animate the map and was fully customised in-house. As we knew that the map would be featured within a microsite rather than as a standalone piece, the interactions were created as a rolling animation to seamlessly lift and integrate with the overall annual report site design.

Interactive Data Map

Data Map Victoria
View live demo >

This was an internal sample project that used Victorian road traffic accident data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It uses the Google Maps API with a d3.js overlay for the charts and data visualisation.

The contrast here is between simple charts detailing demographics on the left and the complex spread of data points and nodes on the map. The map gets less cluttered as you zoom and drill down to locations with the capability to expose individual accidents at that level.

3D Global Trade Routes Map

Interactive 3d Map
View live demo >

This was made with a Web GI interface and connects to a dataset to show the flow of international supply chain across a 3D globe. The purpose of this was mainly to showcase the capacity of this particular interface, show a flow between trade locations around the world and use the map itself as the navigation for a more explorative user experience.

It illustrates a complex concept of global trade routes simply and elegantly and managed to have a really cool interactive element in controlling the 3D globe.

We have a couple more mapping projects coming up and we look forward to sharing them with you.

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101 Data Visualisation Resources https://www.datalabsagency.com/articles/101-data-visualisation-resources/ Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:34:40 +0000 http://www.datalabsagency.com/?p=4895 101 Data Visualisation Resources Ideas, inspiration blogs, people, tools and more! We’ve searched and searched to bring you 101 links to some of the best things inRead More

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101 Data Visualisation Resources

Ideas, inspiration blogs, people, tools and more!

We’ve searched and searched to bring you 101 links to some of the best things in the data design and data visualisation world. Most are free (or freemium); all are totally useful. If we’ve missed anything great, be sure to add it in the comments!

From the complete newbie to seasoned designers and coders, we hope there’s something for everyone. Some of what we have is technical, some instructional; there’s software and then there are heaps of free resources like image libraries that help compliment great data design.

So, without further ado, in no particular order, here they are…!

Articles & Great Blogs

Infographic Blog

An example of an infographic blog

1. The Do’s & Dont’s of Infographic Design – This post from Smashing Magazine shows some of the key things to do and definitely those you should not do to your lovely infographic.

2. Brewer Palettes  –  A great introduction on how to pick colour palettes for the best effect and why. We’ve included quite a few tools for choosing colour pallets later on in this post so getting your theory down first is a good idea.

3. Interactive Data Visualisation for the Web Ebook – The name says it all: this is a pretty comprehensive ebook on how to get started using JS and interactive code libraries like d3.js on the web. Covers CSS & HTML, DOM, Content plus structure,  images, data, Python, Layouts, Json, GeoJson, Choropleths, MAMP, WAMP, LAMP (yeah, I  had to Google those, too), Geomapping, exporting files. Like I said, the name pretty much sums it up.

4. The Pros and Cons of Using A Microsite For Your Business – We’re pretty firmly in the “‘do it!’ camp”, but we also know that microsites aren’t magic and if your content is boring on paper, dressing it up in a microsite probably won’t change that. But don’t just take my word for it, read this blog!

5. How to Choose the Right Chart or Graph for Your Data – If you want your data to be read and understood, you first need to know how to present your data . This guide will take you through everything you need to know about charts versus graphs and your data.

6. How to Make Infographics – A  Beginner’s Guide – You can thank The Guardian for this one. This article will take you through the very basics of infographics and data visualisation. It’s a great resource if you’re still learning the dataviz ropes.

Charts

Charts… an oldie but a goodie in data viz

 7. Data Viz Catalogue – If you’re looking for inspiration, alternative chart types, or you’re trying to find the right chart for a difficult report, then check out Data Viz Catalogue. It’s got a library of charts, from simple to complex that can answer most chart- and graph-related questions.

8. Datadvisualisation.ch – This is probably one of the best resources for all things data viz on the web. This link will get you to the chart section but we encourage you to explore the whole site as it’s pretty great.

9. AmCharts – Another JavaScript library, this one has a handy little WordPress plugin that you can then edit and embed the code with a shortcode.

10. HighCharts – This JavaScript library has a myriad of interactive chart types. It also features a free license for non-commercial use.

11. Ploty.ly – With its free version, this web-based interface allows you to create simple interactive charts based on d3.js.

12. uvCharts – A nifty little tool, uvCharts is both easy to use and free! Winning!

Maps, Cartography & Geo Data

Polymaps has some great content

13. Modest Maps – A free resource and library for designing interactive maps, Modest Maps tries to be accessible for amateur coders and developers.

14. Polymaps – A JavaScript library for image and vector maps. This one is a little more technical but is a super cool resource for making web-based interactive and layered maps.

15. Kartograph – Another mapping option, this one comes with a few option including a Python & JS library.

16. Carto (formerly CartoDB) – Our go-to option for interactive maps. Has a paid version but is one of the best mapping libraries out there.

17. Mapbox – With their help, Mapbox boast you can ‘add location into any application with our mapping, navigation, and location search SDKs’.

18. Instant Atlas – A software bundle for Microsoft Windows, Instant Atlas is a hosted service providing data and metadata storage, user management and a customisable web front end.

19. Mapline – A freemium version with other options and more features, Mapline is designed for Excel interaction.

20. Mapsdata.co.uk – A great simple mapping tool designed for the non-technical with an interface that allows you to add data via a web interface.

People

The late Hans Rosling

21. David McCandless – One of the biggest names in the data viz world, David is known for his book Information Is Beautiful and his work with The Guardian UK.

22. Stephen Few – Best known for his work on dashboards and how to consume information from a business analytics view.

23. Nicholas Felton – Information and infographic designer with some particularly cool work in annual reporting.

24. Alberto Cairo – writer, artist, podcaster.

25. Nathan Yau – Author of Flowing Data, data visualiser, and statistician whose work often focuses on the large-scale statistical data and how to visualise it through technology like R & Tableau.

26. Edward Tufte – Pioneer and prolific writer in the data visualisation and information design fields (arguably its founder or first champion).

27. Hans Rosling – A statistician and physician who can inspire anyone to fall in love with data visualisation. Check out his TED talks for a massive hit of data viz inspiration.

Inspiration

Animal Infographic Tableau

Everyone needs a little #inspo

28. InformationIsBeautiful.net – David McCandless, mentioned above, is a data viz heavyweight who notes his pet hate is pie charts. Here, you won’t find a single one. Instead, browse this stunning site where David and his team “distil the world’s data, information and knowledge into beautiful and useful graphics & diagrams.” Take a look, get inspired, and get back to your own data viz making!

29. 20 Animated and Interactive Infographics You Have To See – As the title of this one suggests, you just have to see these infographics. You have to. Quick! Go now! Hurry!

30. Animated Interactive Infographics – A list of 20 very cool interactives.

31. Tableau Viz of the Day – The best use of Tableau, updated each and every day.

32. CoolInfographics.com – Just a great blog dedicated to some pretty cool infographics.

33. Behance.net – An Adobe venture, this site is like a big online gallery dedicated to discovering and showcasing new work.

34. Creative Bloq – Dedicated to all things art and design inspiration, this link will take you right to 100 great infographics.

35. Pinterest – Sounds obvious but this really is an amazing way to search and catalogue great ideas or inspirations. The link goes to one of our boards so you can see how we use it in the agency.

36. Twitter – See what the Twitterverse is saying by tracking the ever-popular #dataviz hashtag.

Infographics

An infographic about infographics!

37. Piktochart – Get visual and make your own infographics with this easy online tool.

38. Venngage – A free, online template-based  tool to help you make your own infographics.

39. Canva – An easy drag-and-drop tool. Free, too!

40. Easel.ly – A place to create and share your visual ideas with the world.

41. Vizualize.me – Ever wanted to create a visualised version of your resume? Now you can.

42. Infogram.com – Create infographics and charts online.

43. Visme.co – … You get the drill.

Images

Dribble’s landing page – clean and crisp!

44. Pixabay – Hosts a bunch of free photos, images, and backgrounds for all your data viz needs!

45. Canva – Canva offers a whole array of free stock photos; check them out here.

46. Dribble – An online image gallery, popular with designers to upload their own content and discover the world’s.

47. Pinterest – We know what you’re thinking… Everyone and their mother has a Pinterest. So? It’s still a great tool when it comes to data viz!

48. Weheartit – Get inspired by everyone else’s favourite collections.

49. Pearltrees – Organise all your favourite images and interests using this handy online tool.

50. Designschool.canva – Check out this Canva blog for a list of 73 sites to find free images for your site or blog.

Articles/Talks

The internet is a giant source of information… Use it!

51. Martin Krzywinski Brewer Palettes – This thorough explanation takes you through everything you need to know about Brewer palettes.

52. Interactive Data Visualization for the Web – Who needs to go to the library? This freely accessible online ebook is a great resource for learning the ins and outs of data viz for the web.

53. What the Hell is a Microsite and Why Do I Need One? – If you’ve ever wondered this, this article’s for you.

54. The Best Stats You’ll Ever See – This TED talk, presented by the great late Hans Rosling will make you fall in love with all things stats, big data, and data viz. All. Over. Again.

55. The Beauty of Data Visualisation – If you’re still doubting the importance and magic of numbers, this TED talk is ought to get you re-inspired.

56. Making Data Mean More Through Storytelling – Who says YouTube is just for cat videos??

Colour

57. Choosing Colours for Data Visualisation – This easy ten-pager will give you a great headstart when it comes to picking colours for your project or design.

Ah, the humble colour wheel

58. The Colour Emotion Guide – A handy visual guide to ensure your colour-to-emotion relation is right.

59.  A Friendly Guide to Colors in Data Visualizations – Another guide for colours in data viz. Now more friendly!

60. Colorpicker for Data – This fun little tool helps you visualise your colour choices. A great way of passing the time… Uh, we mean, choosing the right colours for the project you’re working on.

61. Color Oracle Designed for the colour impaired, Color Oracle is a free – and fabulous – colour blindness simulator.

62. Color Scheme Designer – Scheme with colours, you designer, you.

63. Color Hunt – Browse beautiful colour palettes for inspiration for your own projects.

Microsites

Look familiar?

64. 11 of the Best Microsite Examples – This article will take you through some stellar microsite examples for guidance and inspiration.

65. Microsite.com – Build your first microsite with the help of, you got it, microsite.com!

66. Build an Engaging Interactive Microsite – This blog will take you through the steps needed to create an engaging and interactive microsite.

67. 17 Great Microsite Examples for Driving Buyer Interest – Get learnin’!

Guides and How-Tos

Analytics Vidhya offer a great introductory guide into data viz

68. How to Read Your Website Source Code and Why It’s Important – If you’re building your own site, this guide should prove quite helpful.

69. Beginners Guide to Learn Data Visualization – If you’re a newbie, this how-to is for you!

70. A Beginner’s Guide to Infographics – It’s DataViz101.

71. How To Credit Images on Your Website – A handy visual guide if you’re ever unsure.

72. 5 Brilliant Microsites and Why They’re So Effective – If you’re in need of knowing the hows and whys and not just the here they ares when it comes to microsites, this is a must-read.

73. Introduction to Data Visualisation: Chart Dos and Donts – And now you know.

Fonts

The font you choose can have a bigger impact than you might realise…

74. Get Started With Google Fonts API – Get the Google run-through.

75. Google Fonts – … And then get with Google.

76. Font Pair – A handy little helper for Google Fonts, Font Pair will pair different Google Fonts together.

77. Font Space – Never try and pick between Arial and Arial Black again.  Find and download a whole array of free fonts at Font Space.

78. DaFont – Another library of free fonts for your choosing!

79. Urban Fonts – Fonts that are urban. No country-dwellers allowed.

80. Free Font – We love free, don’t you?

81. Font Squirrel – Free fonts – and for commercial use, too! No free squirrels, though. :/ Disappointed.

82. 1001 Free Fonts Just 1001 free fonts. There may be more. Who knows? (There are definitely more.)

Tools

83. Tableau – If you don’t already know the name, get used to it. Tableau is the heavyweight data viz champion of the world, and their products and software can help companies and data visualisers alike.

84. Cliq – Try or buy Qlik for a great service for all your visual analytics needs. They’re a big gun in the land of data viz and analytics, although using Qliq does come with a price… It’s money. The price is money.

85. Fusion Charts – If you’re a charts man, or woman, Fusion Charts is for you, offering you ‘full control over the aesthetics and behaviour’ of your charts. While it’s not free, there is a free trial version of this software.

The internet is a vast place… With plenty of tools to help you learn and do almost anything

86. NodeBox – Offering a whole family of tools, NodeBox is an open-source project of data viz goodies for all your creative needs.

87. R-Project – If you’re all about stats and graphics, this tool is for you. R is free software and describes itself as ‘a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics’It also likes long walks on the beach.

88. ColorZilla – A browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, ColorZilla will bring a little colour into your life.

89. How to Create Test Data – Are you in need of test data? Need no more!

90. The Coding Train – Ever wanted to learn how to code? Or do you need to know? Learn how with the help of YouTube videos.

91. Mockaroo – A random data generator and an API mocking tool,  Mockaroo lets you create custom CSV, JSON, SQL, and Excel datasets to test and demo your software.

92. Pixlr – An online photo editor, Pixlr runs via web apps and features free fonts and free graphics.

93. Lovely Charts – If you want to make a chart, we won’t stop you – and Lovely Charts offers their service as a ‘diagramming application’ to turn your numbers into… well, a lovely chart!

Codes

Coding is an important part of data visualisation

94. Building Your First Webpage – Learning to Code – If coding is something you need or want to do for your website, this guide will teach you how to get started.

95. Chroma.js – A tiny JavaScript library for ‘dealing with colours’, Chroma.js allows you to read and convert colours from a wide range of formats, analyse and manipulate colours, while also allowing linear and bezier interpolation in different colour spaces. Pretty cool, right?

96. SMILE Widgets – SMILE Widgets are free, open-source friends that will help you in your time of (data visualisation) need.

97. RAWGraphs – For all things spreadsheets, RAWGraphs allow you to copy and paste your data, choose a visual model, explore your data visualisation, then export it ready to go!

98. Dygraphs – Use this open-source JavaScript charting library to explore and interpret your datasets.

99. BonsaiJS – This handy little guy is a JavaScript graphics library which features a graphics API and a SVG renderer.

100. Google Charts – Use the simplicity and ease of Google to bring your data to your website with Google Charts.

And, drum roll please…

For last but not least, we have, at long last, reached no. 101 in our list of 101 brilliant, amazing, useful, glorious, fan-tas-tic-o data visualisation resources….

101. Datalabs Agency – Your one-stop shop for all your data visualisation needs. 😉

Hey, we’re here all night!

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Reports, Infographic and Dashboard Tips: https://www.datalabsagency.com/articles/alternatives-to-data-tables/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 03:02:03 +0000 http://www.datalabsagency.com/?p=6869 3 Alternatives To Using A Data Table Stop using tables. Seriously, there are better ways to show data. Here are three: When we run our data visualisationRead More

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3 Alternatives To Using A Data Table

Stop using tables. Seriously, there are better ways to show data. Here are three:

Data TableWhen we run our data visualisation workshops we run an exercise called ‘Break the Table’. This is my little gift to the reporting/analyst/finance world. It’s a simple exercise that asks the group’s participants to not use a table to display information in your reports, infographics or dashboards.

Why?

….because the table is (much like the pie, bar and line chart) criminally overused and not an engaging way to show data. It’s not a bad way to display data, as such, but it’s bland and gets ignored by all those that don’t already know what’s in there. If you’re looking for a good example of this, check out any company annual report or year in review. They’re in there because they have to be. Nobody reads them that didn’t write them in the first place.

Here are three alternatives to a table for your next report. Feel free to use the table as the source and reference in for these visualisations – but don’t make it the centerpiece and use some good information design to get people to really understand the data, rather than just brush over it.

1. Small Multiples

Small Multiples infographic ChartA simple concept that says if you have to show a large set of similar numbers (say, 1-2% increases in yearly profits over 10 years) then use the same visailaiston repeatedly, showing only that change i.e. A set of 10 line charts that show the 1 change, rather than a line chart with 10 lines on it.

2. An Opinion

Here’s where it gets a little tricky. We always say that good data visualisation has an opinion, otherwise, it’s just a data dump. People (users) are looking at information design to simplify information. That means, that if you’re confident in what the data is saying (even if it’s nothing at all) call it out. Let the user know what’s important, what’s not and if they need to spend time on this or move on to something more relevant.

Often when we talk to data analysts they tell us that it’s not their place to editorialise, but we disagree. That’s what people Table Data Visualisationwant from data visualisation. You can still add the detail to the report (just don’t make it the centerpiece). If the data leads you to a conclusion if you see a trend or opportunity: call it out. Give access to the data to show where it came from, but give your option first.

3. Top 10% & Bottom 10%

This follows on from the last point, in giving your information a focus. The top/bottom option is all about calling out or highlighting that which you need to take action on, either positive or negative. Think in terms of sales teams and ask what the top 10% are doing that the bottom 10% are not (apart from selling, obviously).  And then you have an action item.

Infographic: Stacked Bar ChartLook at the bell curve. The 80% in the normal section is not where you want to focus your attention, it’s understanding why the top is performing well and why the bottom isn’t. It’s action orientated and practical.

What are the top percentile doing that the bottom isn’t? Answer that question and you’ve got a good little project to move on. Bury that detail in a table and nothing changes.

Knowing that you can’t control everything, take the table away and just point people in the direction of the next most important step they can take.

 

 

Want to learn from the experts? You should try one of our workshops. It’s like a live blog. But more fun. And you can ask questions.

Contact Datalabs

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Dashboard Design Pro Tips https://www.datalabsagency.com/articles/dashboard-design-pro-tips/ Wed, 04 Oct 2017 23:01:51 +0000 http://www.datalabsagency.com/?p=6826 3 Pro Tips for Great Dashboard Design A strategic approach to visualising your data through dashboard systems for humans. Here at Datalabs, we eagerly await theRead More

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Dashboard Design Dark3 Pro Tips for Great Dashboard Design

A strategic approach to visualising your data through dashboard systems for humans.

Here at Datalabs, we eagerly await the day computers gain sentience, become self-aware and begin using us meat sacks for power generation and light-weight slavery/maintenance.

We welcome our robot overlords and will do their bidding willingly.

Until that time comes, we still need to keep us humans informed as to the goings on within organisations. One way we do that is through the visual display of information. The Datalabs team have designed dashboards within tools like Power BI and Tableau, in CRMs, custom interfaces, for intranets and more. Throughout these projects, we’ve learnt a few things about how to design a good visual interface.

What I’ve learnt is that, to a professional dashboard designer, the actual design process is relatively easy. We can do that quickly. Really quickly: it’s actually very impressive. But it’s what we do most days of the week.

What I know now, after working on dashboard projects for a few years, is that success is not measured in the choice between a pie chart or a stacked bar (stacked bar usually wins btw).

It’s measured in the way the designers and developers understand who they are designing for and what they are really seeking to achieve. We’ll touch on the first one later, but the second point is this:

Designing for People is Complicated & Political

I make the point that understanding the greater purpose of why things need to be measured in a dashboard is not always aligned across all organisations/teams/groups of people.

That means when we develop a universal view of a metric or division or campaign, it will mean different things to different people. That’s simply a fact of how large groups with complex decision-making processes work.

To solve that in a simple dashboard is a challenge but to be aware of it and to make sure your design purpose is clearly communicated and reiterated across all levels is key.

Remember that people are often afraid to say they don’t understand, or challenge a more senior team member on something in a group.

*Tip one:* Design each view, metric and module with a clear persona and revisit that with the group and individuals throughout the process to make sure it aligns – and don’t be afraid to challenge it/them to make sure it does.

Blending Data In Both Source and ViewDashboard Levels & Hierarchy

A dashboard design is a great way to shine a light into all the dark corners of your reporting systems. You’ll see big scary metrics that have been coalescing in the dark for longer than you’ve been there. You’ll see thousands of little, insignificant metrics scurry out of the way when the lights flick on.

This is a good thing. I’ve been told before that our dashboard whiteboard sessions are cathartic experiences. They get things in the open, force discussion about what’s really relevant and they declutter other reports and ultimately, inboxes.

This is because we always look to question what is relevant, and then see if that stacks up against what else you can measure it against.

In these sessions, I talk about real estate on dashboards as the key commodity in its design.  When designing dashboards we need to make sure that everything that gets in there has a clear purpose and is hyper-relevant to the user. Every dashboard has limited space to be effective and you need to be respectful of the users’ time and needs.

It needs to allow people to understand something that they didn’t have previously. It answers a simple business question and it’s a key driver of whatever the dashboard is doing.

*Tip Two:* Blend and compare metrics. Otherwise, a number in a spreadsheet would be enough. Do this by using timeframes, weights, averages, targets etc. If you always look to show things against others you get context for your data which is what really leads to insight.

Dashboard SystemUnderstand your dashboard’s place in the system.

When we design dashboards we always look at the system overall. By systems we mean the things that control or flow into the metrics, data, reporting, analytics and dashboards. These will be data sources such as CRMs or analytics data platforms such Google’s Adwords or Adsense; there will be physical aspects to the system such as humans, locations, divisions, reporting, people, targets and finance.

Organisation reporting is complicated. The need to simplify it is obvious but trying to squeeze all this complexity into a dashboard(s) and hoping simplicity pops out the other side is unlikely, if not impossible.

We know that because we’ve tried.

I mentioned in the first tip that the understanding the person using the dashboard is a vital part of the process; I’d now like to add that giving the user context as to where they are within the system is also a great way to get more out of a dashboarding project.

When we design dashboards, we start by mapping out the whole system and which dashboards will become part of the system. We call that the dashboard relational map.

It contains a diagram of the system, with a hierarchy of needs (say, if the primary need is to get the CEO a dashboard, followed by then the marketing division: that will be explained visually). This map feeds into the dashboard system and will be used as a simple navigation for the dashboards (we explain it like the small map in the bottom corner of a first-person-shooter – a quick reference as to where you are).

The reason we do this is for context. Making sure the user is always aware of where they are and where they are going means they are more likely to understand the whole system. By exposing it they have the awareness of their place but also when they go next. This means greater engagement with the data and so the likelihood of continued use and understanding is increased.

*Tip Three*  – Understanding your system is complicated. Before you try and solve micro issues (i.e. charts, metrics) look at the macro. Draw out the system from top to bottom, bottom to top and then look for the priorities and start to make decisions about the individual dashboards and what they contain.

dashboard map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s three things we know from experience will help you build seriously better dashboards and reporting systems. They’re not simple, they require more skills than just design, development, data and analytics. They need a good communicator that is equally curious about the data and the design. Someone who understands the data well enough but doesn’t get lost in it.

Thanks for reading. If your still interested these might be of interest:

Part Two: will cover how to transition from paper and excel reports,  your dashboard’s place in the analytics value chain and more on the micro, macro and meso levels of dashboard design.

 

 

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SEEK Laws of Attraction https://www.datalabsagency.com/articles/seek-laws-attraction/ https://www.datalabsagency.com/articles/seek-laws-attraction/#comments Wed, 13 Sep 2017 23:35:13 +0000 http://www.datalabsagency.com/?p=6796 SEEK Laws of Attraction Find out what Australian candidates really want What attracts people to apply for a job or work for a company has changed.Read More

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Interactive Microsite

SEEK Laws of Attraction

Find out what Australian candidates really want

What attracts people to apply for a job or work for a company has changed. Where salary and job security once ruled, candidates are now seeking more. 

For example, did you know that 72% of candidates working in Information & Communication Technology would like to have the option to work from home? Or that the number one driver for science and technology candidates is career progression?

To uncover what Australians really want, SEEK asked nearly 6,000 Australian candidates what they’re looking for in their next role. From up-close, it’s difficult to identify what attracts people to employers. But in taking a step back and looking at the whole picture, the data trends tell a story. And that’s exactly why Laws of Attraction was created.

The data from SEEK’s comprehensive study was analysed to design an Interactive Microsite where you can discover what attracts a candidate to a business. With the click of a button, employers can explore what candidates in their industry really want.

Understanding the forces that attract people to a role and what it takes to keep them will give businesses the talent edge over their competition. Explore what the candidates are looking for with SEEK Laws of Attraction.

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Where Data Stories Meet Map Design: A 21st Century Tale https://www.datalabsagency.com/articles/data-stories-map-design/ Wed, 16 Aug 2017 20:25:38 +0000 http://www.datalabsagency.com/?p=3335 Data Stories and Map Design A look at how maps can help tell your data story Humans have used maps to share information about the worldRead More

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Data Stories meet Map Design - Datalabs

Data Stories and Map Design

A look at how maps can help tell your data story

Humans have used maps to share information about the world around us for over five thousand years. In that time, maps have transformed from simple hand-drawn pictures into geographically precise documents. This change reflects the growing complexity of both our knowledge, and map-making technologies. Today, sophisticated mapping software, combined with readily available location-based data, makes it entirely possible to create complex, beautiful and interactive maps.

Ironically, this new generation of maps have a lot in common with some of the oldest maps in existence — they are beautiful, and they don’t just show the lay of the land, but overlay geographic data with social, cultural and economic information.  In short, it’s possible to tell powerful stories with maps.

Map Design

Rapid advances in mapping software are largely responsible for this most recent transformation of maps, from static to interactive, from functional to beautiful. Mapping software has made it possible to embed markers and enrich those markers with text and images.  There are also a growing number of skins, styles and other design options that can give maps a look and feel that reflects the data they contain.  All this makes it possible to tell a detailed story about places on a map.

Data Stories

Location-based data is readily available and lends itself to storytelling.

As the self-described ‘mapper and data herder’ Hugh Stimson says,

People are really good at understanding things, even complex things, if they can just look at them laid out over space. Tables and sometimes even charts can be tough, but humans are almost supernaturally good at cueing into patterns of spatial arrangement. Rezoning listings? Boring. A map of the Downtown Eastside with proposed condo developments lit up a certain colour? Potentially quite interesting.

Maps are more than a neat way to present data – because people naturally associate specific ideas and emotions with certain places, the moment you put data on a map, you’re telling a story. For example, this map by the New York Times shows the likelihood of people in each county across the United States to marry before the age of 26.

An interactive map that tells a story about culture and place

An interactive map that tells a story about culture and place

This map tells a clear and compelling story about geographic difference that easily intersects with what we already know about the religious and socio-economic status of places such as Utah and New York. Imagine how less the impact if that data had been presented in a table?

Evergreen content

Perhaps the biggest opportunity presented by the new generation of maps is to create an “evergreen” asset. In other words, to create a living map, that changes over time.

A well-built map allows updates and additions, and continues to reflect the world, even as it changes.  An inspired example of this principle is the crowd sourced map by Open Street Maps, developed to help fight the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

View Larger Map

At the outset of the Ebola crisis, the Humanitarian Open Street Map Team decided that rather than make do with Google Maps, which lacked detail on crucial villages,  they would quickly built a map that could accept contributions from people on the ground in West Africa. The result is a map that grows more rather than less accurate over time, without additional expense.

The Future of Maps

Many businesses and organisations are collecting location-based data, but few have realized the potential for maps to turn that data into a powerful story.  We don’t believe it will be long before many more people realize that we have arrived at the intersection of data stories and map design and that a powerful story telling tool lies straight ahead.

 


Want to tell a story with your very own interactive map?
Call, email, follow, or messenger-pigeon us; all the usual methods of contact.

03 9416 3033 (AUS) or +1 (650) 646-3793 (USA)

hello@datalabsagency.com

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Case Study: 2 Day Infographic Workshop https://www.datalabsagency.com/articles/infographic-workshop/ Tue, 18 Jul 2017 23:20:43 +0000 http://www.datalabsagency.com/?p=6600 Al Jazeera Infographic Workshop Case Study 2 days with Al Jazeera Journalists, Producers & Designers talking about infographics, data and process.   Where: Onsite at AlRead More

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Al Jazeera Workshop Setting

Al Jazeera Infographic Workshop Case Study

2 days with Al Jazeera Journalists, Producers & Designers talking about infographics, data and process.

 

Where:

Onsite at Al Jazeera HQ in Qatar

Who:

Datalabs team – Designer, Facilitator and MD

What:

Datalabs Infographic Workshop with 2 streams over 2 days.
An introduction session, a design team stream, a reporter/producer stream and a final session.  A total of 6 sessions: 4 split groups and 2 with the whole group.

Background:

Why:

Al Jazeera Head of Creative Solutions contacted Datalabs in 2015 to see if we could organise a workshop to train Al Jazeera’s designers on infographics. They wanted to learn more about using data, how to find the right data and how to present it in broadcast formats.

It took until 2017 to get the logistics sorted (who’d have thought a dual language, 24-hour international news channel would be busy, huh?). Iin May we took a brief on a custom, two-day workshop. The brief was to take the content creators, presenters (journalists) and the design teams into a workshop where they’d design infographics together.

The problems were easily definded: Al Jazeera identified infographics as a tool to complement the story a while back and was looking for experts to help implement.

Infographic Workshop:

Day One – Session 1 – Journalists/Producers & Designers

The first session introduced the teams we’d be working with over the next two days. We took the group through our background in data visualisations, infographics and motion graphics. We established the needs of their teams and individuals, and, the problems they were facing in a data/design to production sense.

We quickly found out that the teams were (naturally) incredibly skilled in their fields and had been mainly struggling with communicating data from a researcher to their story producers and then to briefing their designer to production within short time frames – usually, just one or two 8-hour shifts.

After this process, they needed to produce world-class broadcast quality design, often in interactive (touch screen TV wall) or immersive 3d format that the presenter could walk through and interact with. And all in time to make the news!

Exercises: Team Needs & Introductions, Speed Round Data Visualisation, Pie Chart Alternatives.

Day One – Session 2 – Journalists & Producers

In the first session with the producers & journalist team, we took the group through the basics of researching, structuring and briefing an infographic. The practical exercise showed how to deconstruct an infographic into a written form. This gives a perspective on how to brief for infographics. It gives a good overview of the production cycle of an infographic design (or any visual content – microsite, animation, interactive data visualisation).

As we were taking the team through the infographic work we do as an agency, it became clear that they needed help with the communication of data and how to brief designers when using data.

In the second session, we took them through our own briefing/process documents. We worked on how they should choose data, how much to use and how to structure it visually. We also talked about when to use data, as opposed to icons, written content or images/video to best convey the message and support the infographic.

Main topics covered:

Using & Choosing Data, Briefing Designers, Structure of Infographics, Complex Data & Visualisations, Finding a Narrative.

Exercises: Construct/Deconstruct and Infographic, Build A Narrative Infographic from Data

Day One – Session 3 -Designers

We took the ‘second stream’ of designers through the process that we use to take a brief, sketch ideas, structure and choose the right format for the story and audience.

We showed them how we setup projects, run design feedback sessions and how we deal with large and small data sets. We showed them how we use our process documentation and respond to feedback.

The biggest learning from this session is getting a better understanding of the ‘client’ is important. This is often a conclusion when we have designers in workshops. It can be an internal client (i.e another team or department) or external (another business). When we get a common understanding of the project, both groups use a common ‘data vocabulary’ and get systems in place to brief and provide feedback that gets great results.

Exercises: Process Mapping and Infographic Design

Day Two – Session 4 – Journalists & Producers

In the first session of the second day, we took the production and journalist team through our take on data journalism and how to sketch out a story, visually. We took them through our process, data gathering, cleansing and a quick introduction. In the second part of the session, we took them through Tableau and how we use it to form the basis of stories, cleanse data and how we use it to look for stories.

The main outcome of this session was to help define a process for deciding when an infographic would be best used for broadcast.

Day Two – Session 5 – Designers

In the design session, we took the designers through the storyboarding process. We workshopped a specific brief and storyboard document that could be used for animated data or motion graphics. The outcome of this session was an in-depth briefing document to allow the designers to get more detail straight from the beginning in a clear and streamlined format.

Infographic Workshop Team Exercise Workshop Group Activity AL Jazeera Workshop

Day Two – Session 6 – Journalists/Producers & Designers

The final session brought together the groups and had them working in a design and producer team of two. The groups were given 2 written stories (see example) with some data points and were tasked with creating a 6 module storyboard for an infographic.

The teams presented the storyboard, structure and wireframes to the group as part of the final exercise.

Exercises: Infographic Storyboards & Narrative.

Workshop Outcomes

We established a process for briefing infographics. We had the teams work together and gain a greater understanding of their methods and processes. This lead to a greater affinity with each other’s needs, motivations and problems. A definition of what an infographic is within Al Jazeera was also created and together we established how much data needs to be included before it can be termed an infographic and put into productions.

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Case Study: Interactive Data Map https://www.datalabsagency.com/articles/mapping-data-visualisation/ Tue, 04 Jul 2017 00:57:16 +0000 http://www.datalabsagency.com/?p=6555 Interactive Data Mapping Case Study The interactive map is designed with d3 and Google Maps API Pulls data from ABS traffic accident data Interactive map combinedRead More

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Interactive Data Mapping Case Study

  • The interactive map is designed with d3 and Google Maps API
  • Pulls data from ABS traffic accident data
  • Interactive map combined with data visualisation

Who:

Datalabs R&D

What:

Interactive Map

When:

May 2017

Why:

Geo-mapping and geospatial data visualisations are popular topics at Datalabs (yes, we’re aware of how geeky that sounds). When we speak with clients or internally we often find that ideas, data and concepts of data visualisation can be drawn back to an interactive data map and we’ve used this project to show/explore how that map data works.

We built this as a use-case for a low impact and simple visualisation of pre-existing data and maps that could show large data sets in interactive/explorable maps. We used the Javascript library, D3, some PHP and a script to parse the data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This map is centred around Melbourne, Victoria, as it is the capital and population centre of Victoria.

How:

The map is interactive and the user can explore the geographic region that interests them. They can see the same data breakdown across the chosen region. This style of map is useful for showing groupings and clusters. In this example, we can see a higher instance of motor vehicle accidents around population centres and major roads (especially leading in or out of major centres). This project used Google Maps’ API so there were limited design inputs and our developer Jonas designed the charts and interface.

Melbourne is the largest grouping due to size but as you can scroll in, the user can compare smaller subsets or regions within Melbourne and others of comparable size outside Melbourne.

The Result:

The application of this map and style of data visualisation is almost limitless. In the past we’ve used this type of map to show population growth, peak hour traffic clusters, member data for clubs and sports, infrastructure building projects and roll out, and, point of sale data.

A great looking, usable and scalable map that show the massive possibilities of interactive map data visualisations.


Maps help solve big, messy data problems! Check out our Map & Cartography page for more info.
Call, contact, email, follow, messenger-pigeon or Ham Radio us; all the usual methods of contact.

03 9416 3033 (AUS) or +1 (650) 646-3793 (USA)

hello@datalabsagency.com


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Great Year In Reviews https://www.datalabsagency.com/articles/great-year-in-reviews/ Tue, 16 May 2017 05:47:03 +0000 http://www.datalabsagency.com/?p=6378 What Makes A Great Year in Review? A list of our most favourite digital annual report content elements for 2017 Almost everyone produces a Year-In-Reivew and mostRead More

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Data Story

What Makes A Great Year in Review?

A list of our most favourite digital annual report content elements for 2017

Almost everyone produces a Year-In-Reivew and most of those still get printed and handed out at the AGM.

We get that, in some circumstances, a Year-In-Review is just a legal or regulatory requirement…but there are plenty of creative ways to take your annual report from being a bunch of waterfall charts and complicated tables into something customers, employees, shareholders and the media will engage with and enjoy.

Something fun, informative and shareable that actually tells a story about your organisation. A way to communicate to people about what you’ve done and why. This post is about what we think makes an annual report in a digital experience worth your time and effort.

If you’ve been considering or trying to convince the powers that be your annual report is ready for an interactive, digital transformation into a Year-In-Review then let me help you out a little.

This is a quick rundown of some of the amazing things that you can use to tell an interactive, data-driven story.

A Clear Story

If 2017 is anything, it the year of the corporate story. That means in the couple of minutes a user might engage with your annual report, make sure that the first part (which they’ll see) has an interesting story. Tell them what you did, why you listened, who you helped, how you changed because of those things.

It’s sharp, short and interesting. Use animation or infographics and transitions to move the users through the content and keep it high level, with the ability to move further in if it’s of interest.

The main thing is to make sure it’s relevant and doesn’t try to give too much detail, just an overview.

Video

Nothing unusual here but CEO and Board members have been staring down the barrel of a camera reading out the same message that then gets published on the annual report landing page, just before you get a chance to download the PDF versions. This chestnut has been the go to since we went ‘digital’.

Not that that’s a bad thing if done well. But be wary about putting people on camera who are not comfortable or engaging (which is the majority of us mere mortals). If you do, try letting overlays and animations take some of the presentation burdens from the ‘talent’. If not, a great producer will help…but they can’t make boring interesting, so be cautious because if you film it, you’ll have to either use it or have a very awkward conversation with someone…

Lastly, try an interview format rather than reading from cards as a simple fix.

Data & Insight

Let’s face it, the annual report is going to contain financial metrics and data. If you want to continue the engagement with customers, clients, staff, investors and shareholders all the way through then don’t fall into the old habit of making the financials boring.

I’m not saying get ‘creative’ with the numbers… but get a little creative with the layout, information hierarchy and always summarise, then allow the interested user an ability to dive deeper – i.e. download a pdf report.

The best two ways we’ve seen this dealt with is interactive charts that save on page space and allow the users to look for what they want to see. The second one is animation or motion graphics. If they want to watch they can, if not they’ll move on and everyone is happy.

Animation, Clever Navigations, Brilliant Interactions

One thing we know is that web users are fickle. They bounce, lose interest, open other tabs, take a phone call, get a message; all when they’re supposed to be reading the CFO’s message to investors.

How do you keep their attention, get them where they would like to go and make the experience as intuitive and painless as possible?

You do it with good navigation. Navigation that is clear and simple but also engaging. That means it can use transitions or give a clear indication of where you are on a page and how much further you have to go.

Add to that mix, interactions and animations which will keep interest moving through the site, signal where key points are and allow the user to dive deep when they want to.

What About Reporting Requirements?

Financial Data We get that organisations have a requirement to report on financials. We know that it has its place and we ourselves, still make the ‘all-essential’ pdf report – filled with the tables and charts of an accountant’s dream – to support an interactive report project.

What we’re doing here is a balance though and doesn’t need to be seen through the eyes and outcomes of a traditional annual report.

Think of the Year In Review as being a partially marketing, some HR, a little PR … and then finance exercise.

If you want people to engage with it and listen to what you have to say, then it needs to be more than what your annual report has been.

How To Proceed?

Here are our tips to find the balance in the organisation to make sure everyone gets on the right path.

asterisk-network-icon
Take time to understand the user and if they really care about what you care about. This will help you to avoid telling stories and reporting on things that miss the mark.
asterisk-network-icon
It’s a business (usually). Financials are important but they don’t need to be everything. For those that are ‘that way inclined’, let them get into the data or the detail, but avoid making the heavy details your focus.
asterisk-network-icon
The year in review is shorter than any annual report you’ve produced.

If you like that, check out this post about great AGM reporting or this one about our favourite digital annual reports.


Call, email, follow, or messenger-pigeon us; all the usual methods of contact.

03 9416 3033 (AUS) or +1 (650) 646-3793 (USA)

hello@datalabsagency.com


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