Communicating Numbers: Effective visualisation of data
- 3 hours on-demand video
- 11 articles
- 24 downloadable resources
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of Completion
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- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
This session introduces you to the topics outlined in this section of the course.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.