Engage audiences with data visualization

2012 EEN Forum

Led by Mike Crow

Mike says that, to him, the video by Hans Rosling seems like a “short story.” He suggests that the different way that the video is presented encourages interest in the data. Various sources for data visualization include: Gapminder.org. Other visualization tools are constantly available that allow for presenters to do different things when presenting data (i.e. including more than two variables in their charts [tablopublic]). Great potential for people who can “think well” but “don’t like numbers.” Approaching data in a less daunting way through data visualization.

Question in the audience: how do we create data visualization with “Static Data”? Mike suggests that putting labels on static data—a “data comic book” that allows for the reader to “allow the story to drive the data charts.” More emphasis on a lot of data than in an infographic, which may not be practical for most people in the various fields. Potential issue with data visualization though, is that it is good for story telling, but not necessarily for data analysis. Idea in data visualization called “small multiples” that calls for presenting a lot of data/ charts on one page in order to show the relations between different data; allows people to explore data and find new questions.

For evaluators, it is difficult to determine how to present data in various contexts to various audiences. How do we deal with the biases that we bring to data visualization? Another audience member brings up the topic of knowing who your audience is. How do you use data visualization when there is an audience that does not ascribe to the same values as the creators? Another audience members suggests that it’s important to tell a story, and to listen to other perspectives in order to make sure that there is not a one-sided presentation of data. Mike suggests that by ensuring that the audience you’re trying to reach can abstract what you’re trying to represent, and the data is put in physical space, that it can be easier to cross cultural lines. Another audience member suggests that it is important to recognize how others visualize data.

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