Communicating Numbers: Effective visualisation of data
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Communicating Numbers: Effective visualisation of data

A guide to presenting your data's hidden stories in a way that everybody can understand using text, tables and charts.
0.0 (0 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
6 students enrolled
Created by Gary Pritchard
Last updated 2/2017
English
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Current price: $10 Original price: $45 Discount: 78% off
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Includes:
  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 11 Articles
  • 24 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • You will understand a range of concepts that underpin the effective communication of numeric data.
  • You will learn to identify the message(s) in numeric data that you want to deliver to your audience.
  • You will learn when data should be displayed in your reports or presentations as text, in a table or as a chart.
  • And, you will learn to use straightforward design rules to help deliver the message clearly.
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • You will preferably have some experience of presenting information to others, either in report form or as presentation slide decks.
  • Ideally you will also be able to make simple calculations, like sum, count, average and percentage.
  • And, it would help if you can already produce basic graphs and charts in your favourite spreadsheet or visualisation application.
  • But most importantly, you must have the desire to use data as a means of communicating insights and stories.
Description

Numbers are everywhere: Big business, small business, government, community, sports, world events. They can be exciting. They can tell a story.

But, the poor presentation of numbers is also widespread. Readers and audiences are inundated with inappropriate, badly formatted, indistinct tables. They are shown charts that are difficult, if not impossible, to interpret quickly and easily. This can lead to confusion, frustration, distrust, and maybe even financial loss.

Part of the problem, is that preparing and presenting data is no longer a specialist activity, carried out by data visualization professionals, statisticians and the like. Today, the analysis and presentation of data is something that almost anybody, in any line of work, can be called on to do.

Unfortunately, most of us haven't been trained to do this sort of thing well. And while many people can create a basic table or chart in their favourite spreadsheets software, they don't necessarily produce the best solution, formatted in the right way to get across the desired message?

And that’s where this course comes in.

By offering you a simple to follow process, and a set of easy to apply guidelines, it will help you take your data and present it to others as clear, relevant information which can be easily understood.

Learn to Communicate Your Data Effectively, and Get Your Message Across Clearly

  • Understand why effective data visualisation works.
  • Deliver the most relevant message for your audience.
  • Display your data in the most appropriate way.
  • Ensure the message is seen and understood by everybody who sees it.

An Influential Skill That Benefits You and Your Readers/Audience

This course is written for: Anybody who works in business (large or small); students; charity workers; and those employed by government. In fact, it’s written for anybody who works with data as part of what they do, and who need to deliver a message effectively using numbers.

But it’s unlikely to benefit the data visualization professional, data scientist, data journalist, data analyst, or those in a similar profession. If you work in one of these roles, you probably already know how to do all this stuff and more.

And I should also make it clear that this course is not about ‘Big Data’. It’s not about how to use a particular type of software, or choose the most suitable statistical method. And it’s not about using the latest and greatest chart, graph and diagram types available to the professional data visualization practitioner.

This course is about the effective communication of ‘small to medium size’ data. The dozens, hundreds or maybe thousands of rows of data that you may collect in a small business or as part of a project in a larger organization to answer questions like:

  • What’s the change in sales value of our three leading products over the last five years by sales region?
  • What do the results of our local environment satisfaction survey show?
  • Is the weight of our chocolate bars within specified limits?

It’s about presenting the answers to your data questions in the most appropriate and effective way to achieve the desired goal.

Contents and Overview

This course is designed for anybody who wishes to communicate a message using data more clearly and effectively.

It’s made up of 36 lectures and over 3 hours of video content. In addition, you will find additional reading, in the form of PDF notes that you can use for reference after completing the course. There are also two quizzes to test your knowledge, a couple of simple exercises, and downloadable example data files.

Starting with some basic concepts, you will learn: Why you need data visualisation skills; a basic set of rules for working with numbers; the types and properties of data you will be working with; and how we can take advantage of the way the human brain perceives the world around us.

With these ideas mastered, the course will lead you through the questions you need to ask to: Uncover the message in your data; understand what your audience expects to see; and decide whether you should be presenting your data as text, in a table or as a chart.

And, finally, you will learn how to: Choose the most appropriate chart type; and format your text, table or chart in the most effective manner for ease of understanding.

But please note. Although the examples in this course were created in Microsoft Excel, this course will not tell you how to create a table or chart in Excel.

What it will do is help you identify the most appropriate form of representation for your data and how to format it for best effect. In fact, the ideas presented in this course apply to any software that can be used for data visualisation and presentation, whether it is a desktop solution (like Excel) or an online option like Tableau.

By the time you complete this course, you will be able to: Identify the messages hidden in your data; select the most appropriate form of visualisation to display that message; and format it to ensure the message is seen clearly.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is written for anybody who works with data as part of what they do, and who need to deliver a message effectively using numbers.
  • Examples of those that would benefit most from this course would be: Business managers and administrators; small business owners; accountants; engineers; students; sales people; charity workers; and government employees.
  • However, this course isn't really written for people in the data analysis and visualisation professions. If you work in one of these areas, you probably already know how to do everything covered inside.
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Curriculum For This Course
36 Lectures
03:14:32
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Course introduction
1 Lecture 03:19

After completing this session you will understand the aims and structure of the course.

Preview 03:19
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Introduction to data visualisation
3 Lectures 09:11

In this session you will reflect on what the term data visualisation means to you and why you need to develop skills in this area.

Personal reflection
00:23

In this session you will be introduced to what data visualisation is.

You will also discover why this skill is essential anywhere there is a need to communicate with numbers effectively.

What is data visualisation and why do we need it?
07:26

Here we briefly recap the main points covered in the previous session.

Summary
01:22
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General concepts
8 Lectures 01:07:07

This session introduces you to the topics outlined in this section of the course.

Preview 01:32

Data should always be presented for the convenience of your audience.

In this session you will learn several basic principles that apply to numbers, no matter where they are displayed.

Working with numbers
14:38

After completing this session, you will know the three basic types of data we use in this course, and some of the attributes and issues associated with them.

Types of data
11:09

When we look at numbers, the interesting and important always involves relationships and comparisons.

In this session you will learn the five basic classifications we use to analyse and visualise our data in this course.
Looking at data
10:56

This course generally assumes that you have already obtained and prepared your data, and have explored it to identify the messages and stories within.

But in case you haven’t done this preparatory work yet, this session reviews some of the basic things you should be considering about your data before creating your visualisations.

Preview 05:47

Many of the ideas we are discussing in this course are based on the way, as human beings, we perceive the world around us.

This session introduces you to the visual attributes and rules you need to consider: If you want to make it easier for your audience to see, interpret and measure things effectively.

Visual perception
09:28

Colour can fundamentally change how easily your audience understands the information in a graph or table.

In this session you will learn some key principles for working with colour when creating visualisations.

Using colour
06:32

This session briefly recaps the main points covered in this section.

Summary
07:05

This short quiz reviews some of the key points covered in the Basic Concepts section of the course.

There's no time limit, and, if you need to, you can answer questions several times, until you get them right.

Have fun with it.

Test your knowledge of data visualisation basic concepts
15 questions
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A visualisation process
12 Lectures 01:30:55
This session introduces you to the topics outlined in this section of the course.
Preview 02:15

This session will take you through an overview of the complete visualisation process, before we get into the details of each step in the following sessions.

Preview 03:53

To communicate your data effectively, you must provide the most relevant information to your audience and deliver the most appropriate message.

This session will help you understand more about your audience and their needs. It will also help you figure out what your message should be, and why it is important.

Determine your message and define your target audience
04:05

In this session you will learn how to choose between using text, a table or a chart as the most suitable method for getting your message across.

Selecting a suitable representation
02:52

In this session we will work through a simple example illustrating some of the things you may need to consider when making a choice between a chart and a table to represent your message.

Example of selecting a suitable representation
02:29

When we use numbers in text effectively, the message in the data can be clearly understood. This session shows you what you need to do to make those numbers understandable.

Working With text
08:23

Successful tables communicate easily, and patterns and exceptions stand out.

This session shows you how you can make that happen.

Displaying your data in tables
12:32

In this session, you will learn six principles for presenting numbers in tables.

Data table design
16:34

Once you’ve decided that a chart or graph is the best way to represent your data, you need to select the most appropriate type of chart to deliver your message.

Selecting the most appropriate type of chart
08:27

In this session you will learn how to design and format your charts so that they effectively communicate the message they’re supposed to.

Communicating effectively with charts
16:53

This short session works through a simple scenario, illustrating a basic process for creating and simplifying a chart, making it easier for any reader to see the message that you, as the author intended.

A simple chart design example
05:08

This session briefly recaps the main points covered in this section.

Summary
07:24

This short quiz reviews some of the key points covered in the Visualisation Process section of the course.

There's no time limit, and, if you need to, you can answer questions several times, until you get them right.

Have fun with it.

Test your knowledge of the data visualisation process
15 questions
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Case study
2 Lectures 14:50

This session introduces you to a short case study of a basic, but complete visualisation process.

You are asked to think about the information you are given, and write down your thoughts on an approach to the problem.

In the next session you see a possible solution as we walk through the scenario together.

Case study
00:52

In this video you are guided through a possible solution to the scenario outlined in the previous session.

This should help you consolidate some of the ideas we’ve considered around data exploration, visual analysis and the difference between finding and telling stories.

Case study: A visualisation example
13:58
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A taxonomy of useful visualisations
8 Lectures 05:43

In this section, you will explore a selection of data visualisation methods, grouped in the classifications identified during the course.

Within these classifications you will see a collection of some of the most popular chart types and visualisation methods in use today.

The Taxonomy is provided as a set of PDF document that you can download, read and use for reference in the future.

Preview 01:30

In this session you will explore visualisation options for comparing a set of values.

Comparing a set of values
00:39

In this session you will explore visualisation options for exploring the composition of your data.

Exploring the composition of your data
00:34

In this session you will explore visualisation options for seeing changes over time.

Seeing changes over time
00:40

In this session you will explore visualisation options for understanding the distribution of your data set.

Understanding the distribution of your data
00:40

In this session you will explore visualisation options for discovering relationships in your data.

Discovering relationships in your data
00:53

In this session you will explore options for using tables in data visualisation.

Tables for data visualisation
00:22

In this session you will explore options available when using text or graphics in data visualisation.

Text and graphics
00:21
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Course summary & further study
2 Lectures 03:27

This session briefly recaps the aims of the course and the topics covered.

Course summary
02:29

This session points you to my website where I provide a list of tools and resources that you might want to explore after completing this course.

Further study
00:58
About the Instructor
Gary Pritchard
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6 Students
1 Course
Freelance trainer and consultant

I live and work in the UK with private clients and businesses, ranging from one-man-bands through to local government organisations.

My work mainly involves the real-world use of Microsoft Office to communicate clearly and effectively. But I also offer training and support in effective web publishing to a number of clients.

I’ve been working with, and displaying numerical information in various forms since the late 1970s, when I completed my Degree in Physics.

During my working life, I’ve always had to compile, analyse and present numerical data: First as an Electronics Engineer and Project Leader at one of the UK’s largest avionics companies; then in various roles in local government; and now as a Freelance ICT trainer and consultant.