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Using Data Visualization to Inform and Inspire

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
Ben JonesFounder at Data Literacy, LLC

When communicating with audiences, we need to present data in a way that gives them an accurate understanding of our topic, but often we also need to motivate them to do something with the information. How can we engage both the intellect as well as the emotions of the people in our audience? In this Data Science Central webinar, Ben Jones of Tableau Public will share some ways to both inform as well as inspire our audience when presenting data.

Using Data Visualization to Inform and Inspire

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Using Data Visualization to Inform and Inspire
Ben Jones | Director of Outreach Programs
September 26, 2017 | @DataRemixed |
bjones@tableau.com
I traded the sunny
beaches of Southern
California…
I traded the sunny
beaches of Southern
California…
…for the lush
forests of Western
Washington
Using Data Visualization to Inform and Inspire
Using Data Visualization to Inform and Inspire
Using Data Visualization to Inform and Inspire
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Using Data Visualization to Inform and Inspire

Editor's Notes

  1. Title Slide
  2. Like Sasaki, I also found myself on a journey to the Seattle area. Back in 2013, this data blogger’s dreams came true and I got a chance to turn my hobby – data visualization – into a full fledged career. I packed my bags and traveled north from Los Angeles, California to Seattle, Washington to join Tableau Software, where I would be able to spend my time growing a product I had come to know and love – Tableau Public – the free version of Tableau that empowers anyone to tell the data stories of our time on the web. My friends thought I was crazy, trading one of the sunniest cities in the country with one of the rainiest, but I thought of it as trading the beautiful beaches for the beautiful forests.
  3. Like Sasaki, I also found myself on a journey to the Seattle area. Back in 2013, this data blogger’s dreams came true and I got a chance to turn my hobby – data visualization – into a full fledged career. I packed my bags and traveled north from Los Angeles, California to Seattle, Washington to join Tableau Software, where I would be able to spend my time growing a product I had come to know and love – Tableau Public – the free version of Tableau that empowers anyone to tell the data stories of our time on the web. My friends thought I was crazy, trading one of the sunniest cities in the country with one of the rainiest, but I thought of it as trading the beautiful beaches for the beautiful forests.
  4. It is true though, my move northward up the west coast of the United States also brought with it a move northward up the list of US cities in terms of number of rainy days in a year: from an average of 36 rainy days per year in sunny Los Angeles to an average of 149 rainy days per year in Seattle.
  5. So in other words, I went from a place where people love to leap over the water… to…. well, to a place where people have no choice but to leap over water
  6. Upon moving to Seattle, my visual cortex was immediately bombarded with amazing things to see in two very different environments – first in the office, and second on the trails. I’d like to talk about what I saw in these two settings, and how they have shaped my thoughts about how to visualize data well. My goal is to impress up you the value of striving to both inform and inspire others when you present data, and to give you some practical tips on how to use Tableau to do just that so that you can have an even bigger impact on your business when you go back to your office starting tomorrow.
  7. First, the data visualizations and dashboards that I was exposed to in the Tableau office informed me all about the world I live in.
  8. This is an artist’s rendering of the place we now call home in Seattle. It’s our global headquarters and it’s a wonderful place. For me, this is a special place where pixels are being converted to perspective on a daily basis. More on the inside of this office soon. But first, here are some examples of data visualizations that I began to see and use.
  9. At Tableau we believe strongly in using our products to understand our own business. It’s one of the core values of our company. I use this dashboard to track the growth of the Tableau Public platform worldwide. It tells me how many new authors are signing up, how many workbooks they’re uploading, and how many times those workbooks are being viewed each week.
  10. I am also exposed to a lot of visualizations about the world we live in, like this one that shows every hurricane from 2012 and the path each hurricane took as it travelled across the surface of the earth. You can see how many hurricanes there were and when they happened over the course of the year.
  11. These are my two sons, Aaron and Simon. I have to bribe them to join me on the trail – usually with either donuts or their favorite cheeseburger – but we have been to some amazing places together since we moved north. Breathtaking places that fill the three of us with inspiration and wonder. This is Wallace Falls, which is about one hour northwest of Seattle.
  12. And this is Cannon Beach on the Pacific coast of Oregon, the US state directly south of our home state of Washington. I was never really very interested in photography growing up, but now I absolutely love taking pictures of these gorgeous places, and trying to capture the magic with my small and portable Sony a6000 camera, which I take with me every time we venture out into the wild.
  13. To sweeping mountain views
  14. It’s not just landscapes and flora we’ve been inspired by. We’ve come
  15. and lush and mossy forests One friend commented on Facebook that he thought I had left California and moved to…
  16. The planet moon of Endor… I haven’t seen any Ewoks yet, as awesome as that would be, but I have definitely been visually inspired by the things I have seen with my own two eyes. At the same time…
  17. …to fun topics like The Simpsons
  18. …to fun topics like The Simpsons
  19. Take this iconic visualization created by Tableau CEO Christian Chabot that shows the growth of tech start ups in revenue as a function of their age. Doesn’t it look a little bit like this underwater plant as captured by photographer George Hodan?
  20. Or this bubble chart by Deloitte consultant Adam McCann that shows the popularity of movies created by Hollywood directors. Do you also see the columns of air bubbles seen in this image captured by Seattle Times photojournalist Steve Ringman?
  21. Or how about this beautiful stacked area chart created by CNBC reporter John Schoen that depicts the history of the Dow 30 industrial average? Kind of looks like this photograph by Ray Jones of rock strata found on Cardigan Island in the UK, doesn’t it?
  22. And how appropriate is it that this visualization by Michael Carper showing the fastest growing companies in America kind of resembles… …this image of bacteria growing in a petri dish? Even the orange color scheme is correct!
  23. And speaking of color, don’t you find it more than a little striking that this horizon plot by Tableau Zen Master Joe Mako showing the history of the unemployment rate in America by state looks remarkably similar to… …this photograph of the Great Smoky Mountain Range that graces the border of Tennessee and North Carolina? Beautiful, aren’t they? Both in their own right, yet both in strikingly similar ways.