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Visualizations with Empathy

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A quick overview of two techniques from design thinking that can help us better tailor data visualizations to the needs of our audiences. Personas can be used to identify illustrative audience members who represent large groups within our target audience, and journey maps help us understand how an audience receives, interprets, and acts on information.

The illustrative example presented here is rooted in a real world experience, but is not an actual persona and journey used in that work.

Published in: Data & Analytics
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Visualizations with Empathy

  1. 1. Designing DataVisualizations with Empathy Amanda Makulec, MPH Visual Analytics Advisor | John Snow Inc.
  2. 2. Let’s take a trip to Zimbabwe.
  3. 3. Where a local organization uses community scorecards to capture quarterly data on health services in 18 communities.
  4. 4. The team aggregates and analyzes the data.
  5. 5. They needed to identify who can use the data and how that person wants to have the data presented and shared.
  6. 6. empathy “walking in someone else’s shoes”
  7. 7. Design thinking gives us tools to cultivate empathy. Graphic: Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Stanford University
  8. 8. Credit to ThinkPlace Foundation, from the Innovations for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Initiative’s Care Community Hub Personas Journey Maps Today, we’ll walk through a rapid overview of two design thinking techniques you can use in data visualization design.
  9. 9. personas design toolbox #1
  10. 10. Personas help us move beyond job titles stakeholder groups organization names and focus on the human side of your audience.
  11. 11. Each persona represents a significant portion of people in the real world and enables the designer to focus on a manageable and memorable cast of characters, instead of focusing on thousands of individuals.” “A persona is depicted as a specific person but is not a real individual; rather, it is synthesized from observations of many people. From: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/08 /a-closer-look-at-personas-part-1/
  12. 12. Identify your stakeholder group(s).
  13. 13. District Health Executive Team for example
  14. 14. Capture data on your stakeholder group.
  15. 15. Analytical ability Job function Education Programmatic knowledge Access to tools Motivations to use data Pain points Interests Where they access information Champion or opposition
  16. 16. Talking directly to members of your audience gives you the greatest insight into their wants, needs, and pain points.
  17. 17. If you’ve worked with this stakeholder group before, you can also brainstorm based on experience.
  18. 18. Identify 2-3 different “personas” within each stakeholder group.
  19. 19. District Health Executive Team The Technocrat The Politician segmented to
  20. 20. Name your personas & give them stories.
  21. 21. District Health Executive Team Rachel The Technocrat Pascal The Politician segmented to
  22. 22. Credit toThinkPlace Foundation, from the Innovations for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Initiative’s Care Community Hub
  23. 23. Identify common characteristics and differences
  24. 24. Wants stories Wants numbers Motivated by passion Motivated by money Act based on feelings Act based on data Resilient problem solver Frustrated bureaucrat Champion for your issue Oppose your issue
  25. 25. Wants stories Wants numbers Motivated by passion Motivated by money Act based on feelings Act based on data Resilient problem solver Frustrated bureaucrat Champion for your issue Oppose your issue Rachel the Technocrat Pascal the Politician
  26. 26. journey map design toolbox #2
  27. 27. Creating a journey map is an excellent way to systematically think about the steps or milestones of a process, and can be used in developing empathy and in communicating about your work.1 You can use the steps on the journey map to identify pain points for your data user that can be transformed into opportunities for you in sharing your data. 1 Definition from https://dschool-old.stanford.edu/groups/k12/wiki/d8073/Journey_Map.html
  28. 28. Pick a persona.
  29. 29. Map out the various (ideal) steps that person takes in making a decision.
  30. 30. Pascal The Politician Community scorecard data is collected in Pascal’s district Pascal takes action with the district supply chain team to identify root causes of the issue Analysis shows 4 clinics in Pascal’s district have stockouts of condoms Pascal is unaware of the stockouts NGO meets with Pascal in his office to share the data Pascal shares the issue with the District Health Executive Team The DHE checks the logistics information system and sees the stockouts were not reported
  31. 31. I am aware… I think about my options… I decide… I seek… I receive… I share… Use a set of prompts if you’re having trouble mapping out steps
  32. 32. Identify the pain points along that journey.
  33. 33. Pascal The Politician Community scorecard data is collected in Pascal’s district Pascal takes action with the district supply chain team to identify root causes of the issue Analysis shows 4 clinics in Pascal’s district have stockouts of condoms Pascal is unaware of the stockouts NGO meets with Pascal in his office to share the data Pascal shares the issue with the District Health Executive Team The DHE checks the logistics information system and sees the stockouts were not reported Pascal has limited time and needs something short he can easily share with other DHE members The DHE may see no stockouts in their system and doubt the accuracy of the community data
  34. 34. Identify how you will address each pain point.
  35. 35. Pascal The Politician Community scorecard data is collected in Pascal’s district Pascal takes action with the district supply chain team to identify root causes of the issue Analysis shows 4 clinics in Pascal’s district have stockouts of condoms Pascal is unaware of the stockouts NGO meets with Pascal in his office to share the data Pascal shares the issue with the District Health Executive Team The DHE checks the logistics information system and sees the stockouts were not reported Pascal has limited time and needs something short he can easily share with other DHE members The DHE may see no stockouts in their system and doubt the accuracy of the community data NGO creates a one page brief summarizing the data and recs NGO adds a spot check of stock- on-hand to the scorecard process
  36. 36. Works well…  In a workshop setting to brainstorm audience needs  In coaching teams on ways to explore their audience.  To focus on primary audience needs when mapping a dissemination plan with multiple deliverables  In designing dashboards and other interactive visualization tools
  37. 37. Favorite Resources for Diving in on Design Thinking • Stanford d. School Bootcamp Bootleg dschool.stanford.edu/resources • IDEO Design Kit ideo.com/post/design-kit
  38. 38. Amanda Buenz Makulec amanda_makulec@jsi.com @abmakulec Follow @jsihealth

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