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Data Visualization: Keep It Simple yet Powerful

What makes one visualization more impactful than another? Why do some chart types struggle to tell a story? BrightTALK’s Regina Yulo interviews Jeff Mills, Director of Analytics at Tableau Software and gets the lowdown on his upcoming webinar for BrightTALK’s Visual Data Discovery and Analytics summit.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to tell a story through data?

Most of the time, people are trying to answer too many questions. Their scope is too large. Some of the most successful data storytellers focus on one or two questions and explore them in great detail. That allows the reader to be immersed in your story, and not trying to piece it together themselves.

Can you give an example of a visualisation you’ve seen recently that you think was very successful?

I very much like this one by my friend Andy Cotgreave.  It uses a great color palette and calls out the things he wants the reader to focus on. There is a lot of data that is consumable in a linear way. He takes the read through the thought process. That’s what makes this dashboard and Andy great stories and great story tellers respectively.


What are the top 3 tips you’d give to someone struggling with data visualization?

  1. Start with a simple question and be curious. You don’t have to answer everything at once.
  2. Pick tools that let you converse with the data without having to chose chart types. Most tools say: ‘pick and chart and then ask a question of the data.” That is backwards. You should ask questions of the data and then let the tool help you pick the visual representation based on what you discover.
  3. Ask for help. The analytic community is amazing. Join the discussion, ask for help and share what you create.

Could you give a brief summary of the webinar you’ll be presenting and what the audience can expect to learn from it?

Being effective at communicating with data is critical in making arguments and persuading your audience. You can become more effective by coming to this session and learning how to build visualizations based on how the brain works. Not just on what looks pretty.

Register for Jeff’s webinar “Analytical Zen: Keeping it Simple Yet Powerful” live tomorrow and available after on-demand here:

Photo credit: Tableau Software

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Regina Yulo
Regina Yulohttp://www.brighttalk.com
World traveler, food lover and former athlete, now working in tech marketing, IT Service Management and Financial Services for BrightTALK in London.