In less than one month, Dan and I will be teaching Enterprise Data Visualization: Executive Dashboards and Managerial Displays for O’Reilly Live Online Training (Wednesday, September 30 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Central). The first and second deliveries of the course earlier this year attracted attendees from around the world. Because of its popularity and high marks, O’Reilly has scheduled additional sessions.
What especially excites me about this class is it delivers a perspective largely missing from much of today’s literature on data visualization: designing dashboards and interactive displays with tradeoffs in mind. For example, the more prompts, links, drills, and interactions that you include in a dashboard’s design, the less chance that different people will see the same data and share the same insights. There’s no avoiding this – more choice literally leads to less shared understanding. Meeting different individuals’ needs with a single design may be great for BI developers facing a backlog of requests because they can “kill two birds with one stone”, but it’s not great for driving organizational coherence.
This doesn’t mean that we should only focus on designing “data stories” that lead users to a defined set of insights. Rather, we need to teach analytics developers how to guide their constituents and stakeholders and how to consciously choose strategies and techniques for different situations and priorities.
Communicating Data Objectively
Evidence-based decision making depends on the objective presentation of data. Business intelligence dashboards and analytics systems require visualizations that are grounded in cognitive science and guided by skilled practitioners.
- Data visualization is not about entertaining people with graphs or about data science algorithms. It is about communicating data as accurately, objectively, and consistently as we can.
- Leveraging the power of business intelligence systems and dashboards that present clear, objective data, you can achieve a shared, coherent understanding of business information across large organizations.
- The principles and best practices for designing effective dashboards for enterprise settings are shared across software platforms and interfaces.
What You’ll Learn
This class is not about how to use a particular data visualization tool, but rather about how to design highly effective displays and interfaces that can be executed using many different systems. Of course, we’ll cover the basics of best practices in graph choice and design. Things like when to use bar graphs versus line graphs and how to best design them from a data interpretation perspective. But honestly, there’s lot of great material out there on this right now. What’s often missing is guidance on how many prompts to put on a dashboard or how to assess how much resources should go into building a particular dashboard.
We’ll introduce frameworks for sorting through these everyday balancing acts along with practical advice gleaned from our years working with enterprise clients. You’ll get key frameworks to determine how much effort and time to invest in different dashboards and how to balance analytic depth and quick-read insights. You’ll learn not only when to use which visualizations, but also which common mistakes to avoid. You’ll learn how to quickly spot effective designs and replace splash with class.
So, if you’ve ever wondered how many drop-down menus to use or what’s the best way to show multi-dimensional insights or how to logically organize and link multiple dashboard pages, join this session packed with practical information and real-world exercises designed to solidify your understanding.
At Vlamis, we have guided everyone from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs to AMC Theatres in the effective display of organizational data. We’re often working with large organizations that have very diverse audiences for their systems – typically hundreds to thousands of users across different geographies, different organizational roles, and with different (sometimes competing) priorities, perspectives, and timelines. We’ve had great response from the private training sessions we’ve done over the years for corporations, NGOs, and government offices, and now we have the chance to share some of our material with a broader audience.
This session will be much less about where-to-click and more about how-to-think, less about features and functions of a particular software system or language and more about frameworks and strategies that can guide your development process no matter which specific data visualization and analytics system you’re using.
If you’re interested in joining us for this live training event, visit the registration page and tweet us @VlamisSoftware to let us know! For a preview of the class, watch the video you’ll find at http://vlamis.com/oreilly.