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Slide Revision Critique, Part 1

A few weeks ago, I came across an older blog post describing a suggested redesign of a slide presentation. As someone interested in helping researchers and analysts improve their presentation slides, I felt that some of the redesign decisions were poorly conceived. High-quality slides should be simple, clean, and easy for your audience to follow without…

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The Challenge of Teaching Data Visualization

You want to increase your skills when it comes to creating effective, captivating, and informative data visualizations. I want to teach you. But with this, comes certain challenges. It is these challenges that I hope to discuss in a SXSW 2015 panel (along with three expert colleagues: Cole Nussbamuer, Kaiser Fung, and Ben Schneiderman).But we…

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Go West Young Man

On Saturday, I head to the west coast for 11 days–the first week in San Francisco and then a few days in Seattle. That’s a long time to be away from my family, but it’s an amazing opportunity to be a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. While there, I’ll work with…

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Maps Need Context

I co-authored this post with Bryan Connor of The Why Axis fame. This post originally appeared on the Urban Institute’s Metrotrends blog. It might be the case that maps are the most data-dense visualizations. Consider your basic roadmap: it includes road types (highways, toll roads), directions (one-way, two-way), geography (rivers, lakes), cities, types of cities (capitals), points of interest (schools,…

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A simple remake for a simple chart

This post originally appeared on the Urban Institute’s Metrotrends blog I had a hard time visually picking out the story in a simple chart published by the Financial Times earlier this week. There was nothing special or particularly complex about the chart—it’s a simple clustered column chart—but the fact that I couldn’t easily see the story made…

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Presenting your research? Try telling a story

This post originally appeared on the Urban Institute’s MetroTrends blog. One of the hot buzzwords in data visualization these days is “storytelling”: telling stories with data, using visualization to help tell stories,…stories, stories, stories. But no one, it seems, has really defined the term. A number of great blog posts recently (for example, here, here, here, here, and here) have…

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The importance of selling research

This post originally appeared on the Urban Institute’s MetroTrends blog. A quick story: A few months ago, I was chatting with one of my former graduate school professors. I was telling him about a client who was concerned that his organization wasn’t selling their work enough; that their reports weren’t being as widely read as…

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The First HelpMeViz Hackathon Event

(Cross-posted with HelpMeViz) I’m excited to announce the first live HelpMeViz Hackathon event. On Saturday, June 28th, HelpMeViz will bring together coders, data scientists, and data visualizers in Washington, DC, to help Bread for the World Institute with two data visualization challenges for its 2015 Hunger Report, which focuses on why women’s empowerment is essential to ending…

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The “So What?” Test

The last Data Stories podcast featured a fantastic discussion with Enrico Bertini, Alberto Cairo, Robert Kosara, and Moritz Stefaner about storytelling in data visualization. I’ll save my post about storytelling for another time, but right now I want to write about Alberto Cairo’s “So What?” test. Alberto defines his “So What?” test as follows: “A test…

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Ring Maps

It’s beyond me how I ended up on the ArcGIS mailing list, but every so often I get one of their newsletters that contains the latest and greatest cartography tools and research. I usually scan the magazine pretty quickly, but the article by Huang and others in the October 2013 issue caught my eye. (A…