SlideShare a Scribd company logo
1 of 58
DATA 
STORIES 
Creating compelling 
stories with data 
Effectively combining 
Storytelling, Data 
Visualisation and 
business reporting 
February 24, 2014 
Prepared by: Miriam Gilbert 
Storytelling with Numbers
Visual communication: 
Data Visualisation 
| 2 
. 
Table of Contents 03 
06 10 
15 17 
page page page 
page page 
Introduction to Business 
Storytelling 
What is different about 
Data Storytelling 
page page 
19 30 
page 
40 
Storytelling: 
Create a narrative 
page page page 
52 56 57 
Visual communication: 
Expressiveness et al 
Visual communication: 
The right tools 
Visual communication: 
Drawing attention 
Visual communication: 
Guidelines 
Storytelling: 
Examples 
Appendix 
End notes 
Resources and 
credits 
page page 
44 47 
Storytelling: Create a 
compelling structure 
Storyboarding for 
content and lay-out 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 3 
Storytelling 
in Business 
What has storytelling to 
do with business? 
Isn’t business about hard facts and 
figures? Actually, storytelling has 
become big business. 
Corporate storytelling has gone 
mainstream in the last decade, with 
leaders use storytelling techniques to 
inspire staff and all self-respecting 
marketers use stories when talking 
about products, services and brands. 
Using stories to convey a 
message not a new thing. 
Storytelling is one human trait 
that transcends time and 
culture. Examples of stories 
have been found in all known 
societies throughout history.. 
The most common focus for 
storytelling in business is to 
persuade, influence and 
motivate an audience. 
Think of a CEO standing in front of a 
crowd of employees. Or a major brand 
trying to entice customer to buy more 
of their products. Because of that, you 
find most business storytellers within 
marketing, branding and sales 
functions and among leadership 
groups. However, with the rise of ever 
more data being accessible and 
digestible by organisation, a new kind 
of business story teller is emerging 
among data scientist, analysts and 
other technical professionals. News 
media businesses are already on the 
case: Data Journalist has become a 
recognised job description. 
“Data Storyteller” also seems set to 
become a common job description, 
alongside data scientist . And if you 
google “Master Data Storyteller” you 
will find more than one company 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers advertising vacancies!
| 4 
How to we define 
“stories” in 
business? 
The Oxford Dictionary 
defines “story” as: 
1: An account of imaginary or real 
people and events told for 
entertainment; 2: A report of an item 
of news in a newspaper, magazine, or 
broadcast; 3: An account of past 
events in someone’s life or in the 
development of something; 4: The 
commercial prospects or 
circumstances of a particular 
company. 
There is no single, ultimate 
definition for what constitutes 
a story, just many, many 
opinions 
Most traditional definitions of “story” 
demand that a story includes a 
protagonist, some kind of struggle or 
conflict, dialogue and sensory 
language. That would mean that 
many forms of narrative do not 
qualify, including for example, silent 
movies and video games, even 
though there is a large industry 
devoted to developing storylines for 
games. Based on that definition, the 
place for stories in business would be 
limited, and many areas of 
organisations might shy away from 
exploring the benefits of stories. To 
define Data Stories, we therefore 
adopt a more inclusive approach: 
Stories are accounts of real or imaginary events that engage the 
listener in interactive1 communication 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 5 
How Storytelling 
works 
Research in neuroscience and psychology investigates what 
happens when we are exposed to stories. It’s shown that 
stories have a physical, mental and emotional impact on us, 
and that evolution has indeed hardwired our brains to respond 
to stories differently compared with all other forms of 
communication1. 
Stories can make the 
complex simple 
Living in an increasingly complex world, 
we place a lot of reliance on facts and 
data. However, the numbers rarely speak 
for themselves, they need expert 
interpretation. Stories can provide that 
interpretation by taking analysis results, 
trends and scenarios off the 
spreadsheets and bringing them into 
the world of people. They can convey 
complex relationships, provide context 
and allow us to compare what we hear 
to our experience – thus enabling us to 
assimilate information quicker and 
question more insightful those things 
that don’t fit our expectations. 
Stories make information 
memorable 
Research shows most people forget facts 
and data quickly. However, people can 
vividly recall stories they heard in childhood. 
Studies into how our brain reacts to stories 
show that stories give people an emotional 
frame of reference. This makes stories 
“sticky” and they provide the language to 
be recalled quickly. 
Stories can foster collaboration and embed values 
In modern organisations, we are often part of multi-function teams and collaboration is vital to achieve the business’ goals. Using 
stories can help create common ground by enabling us to share experiences and make abstract concepts tangible. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 6 
What is different 
about Data 
Storytelling 
Data stories combine narrative 
storytelling with data in a format that 
makes the data easily accessible, 
generally using visualisation: 
General issues with 
business communication 
Many traditional business reports and 
presentations err on the side of detail, 
resulting in lengthy documents with 
dense text, tables and over-busy 
graphs. Of course, executives and 
meeting attendees then regularly 
initiate an exercise to reduce the 
paper mountain, asking for executive 
summaries, highlights or exception 
reports, one page briefing memos 
and dashboards. 
The trick here is to ensure that all the 
relevant information is still present in 
the shortened version and your 
message comes across clearly. Too 
often, the shortened version (and 
sometime the long version as well) 
does not answer the crucial question: 
So what? What is the story? 
Data stories – how they 
can help 
Data stories take advantage of the 
power of storytelling to quickly 
provide context and establish 
relevance and expectations. This 
enables the audience to grasp a large 
quantity of facts quickly This is 
combined with the power of effective 
visual communication to let the 
audience grasp large amounts of 
information in “chunks” that help the 
working memory retain information. 
There is a large body of evidence 
showing that the working memory is 
correlated with problem solving, 
learning, reasoning, and reading 
comprehension – all good ingredients 
for your audience to experience. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 7 
Data Storytelling: 
Definition 
A method of delivering messages derived from 
complex data analysis in a way that allows the 
audience to quickly and easily assimilate the 
material, understand its meaning and draw 
conclusions from it. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 8 
Key ingredients for 
Data Storytelling - 1 
A message 
Without a message, you have no story. And you owe it your audience to 
give them a story. A data scientists or data analysts job is partly to 
assemble the data (mine, discover, unearth, aggregate) and help the rest of 
the world to draw meaning from it without the audience having to 
understand the hundreds of caveats, sources, transformations, etc. 
necessary to get usable insights. 
A poor data scientist is a number 
monkey, able to use new tools to 
blindly pull whatever information is 
asked of him. He will be replaced by 
automated tools in the next 10 
years. A good data scientist does 
the job of the poor one and more. 
She is a critical reviewer of the data. 
She develops a hypothesis based 
on the data, verifies her hypotheses 
by investigating similar data that 
would disprove her hypotheses, 
making sure she catches any 
obvious mistakes. 
She makes sure her audience 
understands what the data suggests 
and what it does NOT suggest. She 
helps the audience - whether that is 
the CEO, CMO, BOD, or conference 
attendees - to understand that 
because something is correlated, 
one effect is not necessarily caused 
by another, and keeps the insights 
sane. At the end of the day her 
analysis is successful when actions 
can be taken from her insights and 
she has been asked about angles 
she had not yet explored. 
Going beyond the data means 
presenting a message – key to 
effective (data) storytelling 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 9 
Key ingredients for 
Data Storytelling - 2 
Narrative 
A narrative is any account of connected 
events, presented to a reader or listener in 
a sequence of written or spoken words, or 
in a sequence of (moving) pictures or 
acted display. It’s the tool you use to 
convey your message. When it comes to 
data stories, you select from a 
combination of words, graphics and 
potential videos (mime and dance are less 
likely in a business setting). 
Structure and flow 
Structure is the internal framework that 
holds the data story together. Flow is the 
“movement” through the story; the order 
in which you arrange the information and 
style to present the information to your 
audience. 
Visual communication 
A good data visualization has the ability to 
show you something that you wouldn’t 
have seen by only looking at the data, it 
presents the data in a way that the viewer 
can explore and understand it. Most 
commonly, charts and graphs are used for 
this purpose. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
Data Visualisation 
Expressiveness, precision and 
accuracy 
The right tools 
Drawing attention 
Guidelines 
Visual 
communication 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 11 
Data visualization 
and communication 
Visualisations have the power to “show” the story behind the data – and they 
are nothing new. In fact, one of the best known early data stories is the 
visualisation of Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812 by Charles 
Joseph Minard, a French engineer with a flair for “infographics”: 
The flow map shows the size of Napoleon’s army at different stages of the campaign combining geography, time, temperature, 
the course and direction of the army’s movement, and the number of troops remaining to tell the story of this dreadful campaign: 
In 1812, the Grand Army set out from Poland with a force of 422,000; only 100,000 reached Moscow; and only 10,000 returned2. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 12 
Data visualization 
and communication 
Much of the focus in data visualization 
has historically been on exploring and 
analysing data. 
But the analysts who use visualization often are 
not the decision makers, so they need to 
communicate their findings to the decision 
makers. 
The problem is that many data visualisations 
used for communication purposes are bad – as 
simple as that. This ranges from many 
infographics used for marketing purposes to 
certain default graphs in excel or the outputs by 
data visualisation tools where it is assumed that 
the tools used for analysis are usable for 
presentation just as well as for their original 
purpose. 
What happened to 
the other 10%? 
Who are the other 
7 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 13 
What is wrong with 
this chart? 
Spot at least 6 flaws in this bar 
chart* 
*Solution in the appendix 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
Data Visualisation 
Expressiveness, precision and 
accuracy 
The right tools 
Drawing attention 
Guidelines 
Visual 
communication 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 15 
Expressiveness 
Precision 
Accuracy 
Translating data into visual forms is 
called visual encoding. For visual 
communication to be effective in data 
stories, the visualisation needs to 
express the encoded data in a 
meaningful way. This means not 
trying to show every piece of data 
under the sun but all the facts that 
are relevant. Editorialising should be 
done explicitly and transparently, for 
example by using colour or other 
focus-driving tools or with words. 
Editorialising must never be done 
underhand using tools such as 
artificial scaling of axis, misleading 
selection of source data or implying 
relationships where there are none. 
Precision is different from 
expressiveness and it is concerned 
with the level details you want to give. 
A simple example of precision is the 
number of decimal point displayed in 
a table. Depending on the needs of 
the audience, you might opt for more 
or less decimal points. 
Accuracy is again different from 
both expressiveness and precision. 
The relationship between accuracy 
and precision is particularly 
important, as sometimes greater 
precision is associated with accuracy, 
even when this relationship does not 
exist. An example of the difference is 
this: 
Imagine you are running a charity 
tombola where participants have to 
guess the value of copper coins in a 
jar. One participant guesses the 
coins total “£3,234.67” and another 
guesses “about £2,000”. If the coins 
come to £2,054, then the first guess 
is the more precise one but the 
second the more accurate one. 
It goes without saying that you 
should feel comfortable about the 
accuracy of the data encoded, 
whereas expressiveness of the level of 
precision and method of encoding 
depend on the circumstances. 
Expressiveness tells the 
story 
Precision is about level 
of detail 
Accuracy describes 
correctness 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
Data Visualisation 
Expressiveness, precision and 
accuracy 
The right tools 
Drawing attention 
Guidelines 
Visual 
communication 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 17 
Choosing the right 
tool for the job 
Tables are the right choice if the 
audience wants to look up individual 
values of a data set. They allow to 
pick up individual points with great 
precision. They can also be useful if 
you want to display a very small data 
set of up to 10 data points or less. 
Graphs, on the other hand reveal 
meaningful relationships between 
the data. Using graphs enables you 
to see trends, patterns and 
exceptions in the underlying data 
that might remain hidden if displayed 
as a table. 
When deciding that a graph is the 
best tool to visually display your 
story, you need to decide what data 
relationships you want to display. 
Different graphs work for different 
relationship types, so consider: 
Do you want to show a comparison? 
A distribution? A Composition or a 
relationship? 
The two most common forms 
to visually encode data is 
with graphs and tables. Both 
are excellent tools, when 
chosen for the right task. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
Data Visualisation 
Expressiveness, precision and 
accuracy 
The right tools 
Drawing attention 
Guidelines 
Visual 
communication 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 19 
The whole is different 
to the sum of its part 
Gestalt Theory: how we make 
sense of what we see
Gestalt theory: how 
do we make sense 
of what we see 
Once you have decided on your message, effective visual communication is about showing it to the audience 
and this means enabling people to see it effectively . 
| 20 
The presentation needs to play to the strength of visual perception and 
minimising its weaknesses. In order to do this, it is necessary to 
understand a bit about how visual perception works, i.e. how people see, 
how their eyes work. 
The eye and visual cortex have 
been likened to a massive parallel 
processor, feeding into the 
human cognitive centres. The 
strength of the human visual 
system is that is an unparalleled 
pattern detector but it works to 
its own rules. If the patterns are 
presented in one way, we can 
easily see them but in another 
way, we cannot3. 
There is extensive research into 
what the rules of perception and 
cognition are, going all the way 
back to the work by the 
Berliner Schule der 
Gestaltpsychologie 
(Berlin School of Gestalt 
psychology), established in the 
early 20th Century. 
Gestalt means “form”, “patterns” 
or “shape”. The Gestalt theory 
stipulates that the whole is 
different to the sum of its parts 
(NOT more), and that perception 
is not built up from stimuli 
sensation (i.e. light from an object 
entering the eye) but is a result of 
perceptual organisation. 
How does this relate to Data 
Storytelling? 
Data stories, by their very definition, include data and 
visuals. Using the principles of Gestalt theory helps 
choosing the most appropriate design for these 
visuals, and avoid confusing mistakes. For example, 
not visually grouping unrelated items or visually 
connecting items where there is no real connection 
All of this allows us to identify what we really need 
when we communicate data - and remove the clutter! 
. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
. To explain the phenomenon of perceptual organisation, Gestalt theory established a number of “principles 
of perception”. Key ones are: 
| 21 
Making sense of 
what we see … 
Pragnanz 
Simple patterns are 
noticed before other, 
more complex ones. 
Visual perception 
reduces patterns to the 
simplest possible 
structure, searching for 
pithiness 
Continuation and 
closure 
Points, when connected, 
result in contours. These 
contours follow the 
smoothest path and 
even trick the eye into 
perceiving things that 
are not there. This 
includes “completing” a 
figure, even if parts are 
missing. 
Applying these principles in business report 
might look like this: 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 22 
Making sense of 
what we see … (cont). 
Common region 
Elements grouped 
together in a region are 
perceived to belong 
together 
Connectedness 
A connected region of 
visual properties is 
perceived as a single 
unit 
Common fate & Synchronicity 
Elements that move together or change together 
(e.g. blinking lights) are perceived to belong 
together. 
Applying these principles in business report 
might look like this: 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 23 
Making sense of 
what we see … (cont). 
Meaningfulness and familiarity 
Visual elements are more likely to be perceived as 
groups if the groups appear meaningful or 
familiar. 
The bottom data chart plays on the concept of 
familiarity. As the colour RED is associated with 
something bad (in many cultures), it draws 
attention to the months with poor performance. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 24 
Making sense of 
what we see … (cont). 
Similarity 
Elements that are visually similar, appear grouped together. 
Proximity 
Elements that are visually 
grouped together are 
perceived as belonging 
together 
Combining the principles of 
proximity and similarity 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 25 
Pre-attentive 
Attributes
| 26 
Some elements 
command more 
attention than 
others: 
Proximity vs. Similarity: 
Which one wins? 
Pre-attentive attributes 
Research into how the human visual system analyses images 
discovered a limited set of visual properties that are detected very 
rapidly and accurately by low-level visual system. These are 
properties are deemed to have pre-attentive 
attributes. 
This is important for design of visualizations as it lets us 
understand: 
 what can be perceived immediately 
 what properties are good discriminators 
 what can mislead viewers 
Knowing this, we can guide attention to the key points in our 
story. 
How many fives can 
you spot quickly? 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 27 
Grabbing attention 
There are a total of 12 types of 
pre-attentive attributes. We can 
use a combination of our 
understanding of Gestalt 
principles and strategically 
placed pre-attentive attributes 
to direct our readers attention 
without taking away any 
essential information. 
Line length Line width Orientation Shape 
2D position Size Additions Enclosure 
Intensity Hue 
Blinking 
Flicker 
Direction 
Curvature / 
form 
Motion 
Only some pre-attentive 
attributes are perceived 
quantitative. 2D position and 
Line length are the strongest, 
though Line width, Size and 
Intensity have limited pre-attentive 
quantitative qualities 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 28 
Pre-attentive 
attributes applied 
Intensity and hue can draw attention but on their own they need a 
definition to become meaningful, e.g. traffic light designation of red as 
“bad” (which itself needs clear definition). 
Fairly accurate perception: We can 
perceive relatively small differences in position or 
line length and get a “feel” for the difference. 
Limited accuracy in perception: small differences are much 
harder to perceive when it comes to angles, slopes and areas. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 29 
Pre-attentive 
attributes are not 
limited to graphs 
Good Data storytelling contain text as well as graphs and 
tables, so we can use pre-attentive features to highlight 
specific sections, make larger chunks of text more digest-able 
and direct attention 
Bigger elements 
like letters, 
numbers and 
objects stand out 
more than smaller 
ones. 
Slanted words, 
letters and 
number stand out 
from those with 
regular 
orientation. 
Making the lines 
of elements like 
letters and 
numbers thicker 
lets them stand 
out more. 
Choosing a 
different font 
changes the shape 
and lets elements 
like letters and 
numbers stand out 
from others. 
Adding or 
enclosing letters, 
numbers and 
objects lets them 
stand out from 
those that are not. 
Changing the hue 
(colour) or 
intensity of letters 
and numbers 
makes them stand 
out. 
But avoid the Ransom Note effect 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
Data Visualisation 
Expressiveness, precision and 
accuracy 
The right tools 
Drawing attention 
Guidelines 
Visual 
communication 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 31 
Guidelines for 
effective visual 
communication 
Combine the principles of Gestalt theory, pre-attentive 
attributes and generally accepted graphic design principles 
#1 
Only display information 
that is relevant to your 
message. 
Of course, you must include all information that 
is relevant to the case in point – never (!) 
exclude information simply because it doesn’t 
fit your message . If there is such information, 
you might have to rethink your argument. 
However, many charts (aided by the excesses of 
Excel) include superfluous information – 
background pictures, numerous colours, 3D 
effects, excessive gridlines or labels. 
Edward Tufte calls this chart junk and the 
aim is to increase the data:ink ratio ( the 
proportion of Ink (or pixels) that is used to 
present actual data compared to the total 
amount of ink used in the entire display). 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 32 
Guidelines for 
effective visual 
communication 
#2 
Visual differences are 
perceived as actual 
differences in the data or 
underlying message 
That means differences in colour for example 
should have some meaning to be effective 
communication tools – rainbow coloured charts 
like this one could imply a link between e.g. the 
yellow tinted months, even though no such link 
exists. 
Therefore limit the use of visual differences to 
those points that you want to highlights are 
part of your story. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
Bar charts must start at zero to represent data 
faithfully 
| 33 
Guidelines for 
effective visual 
communication 
#3 
Display visual differences in proportion 
to the actual differences in the 
underlying data 
People perceive differences in the lengths or 2-D locations of 
objects fairly accurately and interpret them as differences in the 
actual values that they represent. The most common area where 
this is an issue is when bar charts don’t cross at zero. 
Compare the monthly differences in these two graphs: 
The data is the same but the graph on the right seems to say sales in Mar are almost double that of Jan, which is untrue. The 
reason is that we cannot help noticing the length of a bar, hence bar charts must always start at zero. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 34 
Guidelines for 
effective visual 
communication 
#4 
Visually connecting values 
are perceived to imply a 
direct relationship in the 
underlying value 
When we connect data point, e.g. in a line 
chart, the viewer interprets the data to have 
some form of intrinsic relationship, even if the 
data really only is only nominally related. 
In those cases, chose a bar charts instead of 
connecting lines. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 35 
Guidelines for 
effective visual 
communication 
#5 guide people’s attention 
by making some visual 
elements more salient 
Letting some visual elements “stand out” 
drives the viewer’s attention and they will 
see those elements as more important than 
others. 
As we have seen in the section on pre-attentive 
attributes, there are number of 
ways we can achieve this effect, colour just 
being one simple method. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 36 
Guidelines for 
effective visual 
communication 
#6 
Help your brain to process information 
by combining multiple facts into a 
single visual pattern 
Holding information in the working memory is essential to 
processing the information. Research has shown that the brain 
can only hold about 4 chunks of information at any given time 
in the working memory. 
Combining (also called chunking in psychology) several data 
points in a visual pattern assist the brain to retain more 
information in one go and process it accordingly. The graph is a 
good example of chunking. 
Making sure that all the relevant information is available within 
easy eye-span is another aspect of chunking. Remember how 
annoying it is if a report has related information on separate 
pages and you have to keep flipping backwards and forwards? 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 37 
Guidelines for 
effective visual 
communication 
#7 
Just because some tools 
are popular that does not 
make them useful 
There are at least five reasons why the 
ever popular pie chart (and their cousins, 
doughnut and gauges) are often not a 
good choice when it comes to visually 
displaying data, regardless what the 
media tells you. 
Pie charts imply that the 
components they show sum up to 
the whole. They say that if you add 
all the slices, you get 100% of 
whatever you are trying to measure. 
This might not be correct as shown 
in this pie because it misses out on 
quite a number of other social 
media channels. 
Just like the slices of a pie chart 
must represent a whole, they also 
have to be mutually exclusive. As 
soon as values can fall into more 
than one category, for example 
when it comes to expressing 
preferences, a pie chart is not the 
right tool. 
A common problem with pie charts 
is that they cannot show more than 
a few categories and remain 
effective. While they can work for 
up to 4 categories, anything more 
than you are ending up with a 
pretty pattern, but no real 
discernable information. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 38 
Guidelines for 
effective visual 
communication 
#7 (cont)… 
if in doubt, stay off the pies 
Under most circumstances, pies are hard to read. 
It’s because we are not very good at judging 
angles other than 90°, 180° and 270°. It makes it 
difficult to compare the relative size of slices– 
and when comparing different pie charts it is 
almost impossible to draw sensible conclusions. 
Things get even worse when visual distortions 
are applied to pretty-fy the charts to make them 
more “interesting”. 
Particular culprits are the infamous 3D effect and 
the exploding pie. When faced with these kind of 
charts, you will find that most people will simply 
focus on the numbers, trying their best to ignore 
the actual chart – make the whole visualization 
pretty pointless 
How helpful are these two charts? 
Sales 2012 
1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr 
Sales 2013 
1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 39 
Guidelines for 
effective visual 
communication 
#8 Crowding too many visual 
elements into one space 
reduces the visual impact of 
all elements 
White space is the space that exists, 
most frequently behind and around 
forms, in a work of art, graphic 
design or other form of visual 
communication. 
The term white space derives from 
the newspaper and magazine print 
industry. Historically, resources like 
paper were scarce and printing was 
expensive, and publishers tried to 
pack as much information on every 
page. It was only in the early 1900’s 
that white space was “officially” 
recognised and important design 
element. 
The biggest mistake most people 
make is seeing white space as 
something that must be filled in—as 
something that is wasted unless it is 
occupied with more elements. But 
white space makes the positive 
elements of a visual communication 
design stand out and avoids clutter 
The intentional use of space does 
not just lead to better aesthetic 
qualities; it’s a powerful tool for 
directing the eye. White space, then, 
is absolutely crucial for obtaining 
clarity in your message. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
Storytelling 
Narrative 
Story structure 
Storyboarding content and 
layout 
Telling your story 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 41 
Create a narrative 
around your 
message 
Presenting data – even as visualisation – is not 
enough. 
Consider how to build a story around your core message. Building a 
narrative includes answering the “how?”, the “why?” and the often missed 
“so what?” (some traditional storytelling would also ask “who”, though 
this might not be the case for business reports. 
This does not only convey a lot of information in a short space and make 
complex insights accessible, but a solid narrative can create order and 
make sense of a lot of information – and set the direction for further 
investigation 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers 
When it comes to preparing to communicate with others, most of us look 
at the content and say to ourselves: this is important stuff, I must tell 
others…. It’s called being content led but to really engage with your 
audience, turn it into an audience led one. We do that by focusing clearly 
on the what you want from your audience as a result of your 
communication. It’s called the Most Important Point. 
So right before you start, before putting pen to paper, ask yourself these 
4 questions: 
• What do you want the audience to do as a result of your 
presentation? (Use action verbs.) 
• What does your audience need to know in order to do that? 
• What does your audience need to feel in order to do that? 
• Why would your audience want to do what you want them to do? 
(What is in it for them?)
Of course, the content of your presentation is determined by the information you want to communicate, and your Most Important 
Point. But to make sure that your message does indeed get heard about the noise, you need to tell it in a compelling manner. 
Using stories, you can either wrap your whole communication into a story format (maybe tell the story of how your project has 
overcome great adversity or how your business is about to embark on a brand new direction) or sprinkle some stories into your 
presentations. Analogies and comparisons work well here, too. 
| 42 
The most powerful 
stories are about 
people 
In business settings, the best stories are those 
that focus on real people. Yes, even a 
presentation or report with lots of facts and 
data is still about real people. 
Finding inspiration for your story: 
Specifically for numbers and data, try comparing or contrasting 
the numbers with something familiar. For Example: scaling 
down works by breaking the grandness of a number down 
into something that everyone understands, e.g. the price of a 
coffee. (e.g. the total is less than the price of just one cup a 
day). 
Comparing can work in a number of ways. Take Steve Job, in 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers 
his famous launch of the Macbook Air didn’t go on about the 
slimness of the laptop in millimetres. Instead, all he said that it 
was so thin, it fits into one of those brown envelops you see 
floating around the office. Then, he took out a brown envelop 
and showed how the laptop fits inside.. 
Putting numbers into context: is another useful tool, e.g. if 
dealing with the financial impact of a project change request, 
set it into context of the overall cost, or the total numbers of 
change requests, depending on the point you want to make.
| 43 
Language matters 
A quick word on language: 
A powerful way of engaging your audience is to use Language Of The 
Senses. That means telling the audience what you or the character in 
your story hears, sees, smells, feels, senses and thinks. When you 
trigger a sense, you bring you audience with you. 
The most powerful stories appeal to at least 2 senses. Try this example: 
The extraordinary project board meeting was well attended, even 
though the torrential rain drumming against the window had caused a 
few delays. Bob, the senior programme manager checked his papers, 
the papers rustling as he shuffled his notes. The room was unusually 
quiet – none of the normal small talk and banter over last night’s 
football results. Bob could sense the tension in his fellow board 
members and he was glad he had spent the extra time preparing for 
this presentation… 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers 
‘LANGUAGE 
OF 
THE 
SENSES
Storytelling 
Narrative 
Story structure 
Storyboarding content and 
layout 
Telling your story 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 45 
Giving your 
message some 
structure makes it 
memorable 
Translating this to business reports means we need to provide context (aka 
the beginning of the story), enable discovery (the middle) and provide 
some conclusion (the end). 
Although structures in business reports contain different elements 
compared to story structures in creative industries, they are important none 
the less. Establishing structure and flow in data stories makes sure: 
 You actually get your message across, 
 The sequence of information makes sense and supports your 
message 
 You present the right level of complexity and detail at the right 
time 
 Ensures you present all of the relevant information and no more 
Don’t bury your message: 
Make sure you highlight your key 
point at the front of your story, 
e.g. in the headline or graph title 
Beginning End 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 46 
A beginning, 
A middle, and 
An end 
The most basic story structure is familiar 
to us all. It consists of a beginning, a 
middle and an end. 
The beginning (context) 
To allow readers of a report to grasp its full meaning and 
insights, they need to have a point of reference. That reference is 
the context in which reported events took place or the 
assumptions on which forecasts are based. The context could be 
actual performance vs plan, this period’s performance vs prior 
ones, explaining what events led to the current situation or any 
other relevant background information. 
The middle (discovery) 
To make your message compelling, make the middle about 
discovery. Explain a conflict, the hurdles that had to be overcome 
and potentially the wrong turns that were taken in arriving at the 
real proposed solution and call to action. 
Mixing graphical representation with narrative enables you to 
convey your message while still allowing your audience their own 
journey of discovery. This is particularly powerful in interactive 
settings but as our example shows, can be done with 
conventional reports, too. 
The end (conclusion) 
Many business reports leave the reader with the question “so 
what?”. To achieve their full purpose, effective Data Storytelling 
must go beyond simple display of data but answer the so-what-question. 
This means including a conclusion, recommendation, 
forecast or next step suggestions. Yes, it means you have to have 
an opinion and a message – and as we have seen earlier, those 
aspects differentiate you from a trained monkey. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
Storytelling 
Narrative 
Story structure 
Storyboarding content and 
layout 
Telling your story 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 48 
Visual outlines via 
Storyboarding 
A Storyboard is simply the visual layout of how you are going 
to tell your story.. 
Storyboards are valuable for 
four reasons: 
 Storyboards force you to assimilate your 
information, thus causing you to clarify the 
logic of your hypothesis and supporting 
assertions 
 Storyboards help you to focus the analysis 
 A storyboard can identify gaps in your 
analysis 
 Storyboards prevent work that is unnecessary 
or redundant (story creep) 
Storyboarding for Data Stories in business reports relates two aspects: 
the structure and flow of each story content in the report and the 
layout of the pages of the report:. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 49 
Five simple steps to 
content storyboards: 
1. For each individual story, write the core message that you 
wish to convey on one post-it. 
2. Then write down all the supporting points and other relevant 
information you wish to include in your story on further post-its. 
3. Start physically arranging your post-its to give your story 
structure, checking back that it makes logical sense to an 
uninitiated reader. There is no one right way – use one that 
makes sense to you and your material 
4. Remove any superfluous information – does the story still 
make sense? 
5. Check back: is your message clear and concise? 
The quickest and most useful way to 
storyboard is to go back to pen and 
paper. 
Post-its are invaluable here, though 
some people prefer to write on a 
whiteboard. 
Central 
message 
Supporting 
point 
Supporting 
point 
Supporting 
point 
Core 
message 
Supporting 
point 
Supporting 
point 
Supporting 
point 
Conclusion 
Two examples of content Storyboards 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 50 
Creating effective 
layouts 
Storyboarding layout and format 
of the page helps avoiding 
common mistakes: 
Mistake #1 
Placing information in places that don’t fit its 
importance or does not support its use 
Research shows that not all parts of a page, whether printed or on-screen are 
equal when it comes to drawing attention and being perceived as important. 
With this in mind, it is important to maximise on your page real-estate. 
Emphasised Neutral 
Neutral De-emphasised 
This means you don’t want to put less important information in the top 
left hand quadrant, like a company logo or a legend. Keep them for 
the bottom right. 
The arrows indicate the emphasis with which most people first scan 
down a page, then across if the page contains written as well as other 
visual elements. It’s a legacy of webpage design that has permeated 
other media. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 51 
Creating effective 
layouts 
Mistake #2 
Including items that 
serve no useful purpose 
As per visual communication 
guideline #1, only include elements 
that are relevant. Storyboarding your 
page layout will help you identifying 
those that are not. 
Mistake #3 
Separating content 
excessively 
How often have you found yourself 
reading a report where important 
information was spread over several 
pages (or separated visually on one 
page), making comparisons difficult? 
Storyboarding your layout lets you 
plan how to keep related information 
together. 
Mistake #4 
Failing to visually link 
contents and other 
items that are related 
Even the best plans fail and 
sometimes you cannot keep all the 
relevant information in one place. In 
that case, you can help the reader by 
providing other clues, such as using 
common colours or shapes. 
Storyboarding lets you identify where 
this is necessary 
Mistake #5 
Visually suggesting 
links between contents 
that are not related 
This is the flip side of the point above: 
make sure you don’t visually link 
those items which are discrete from 
another. 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
Storytelling 
Narrative 
Story structure 
Storyboarding content and 
layout 
Telling your story 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 53 
Telling a story with just one graph 
Background: use text to explain the context and the problem you are exploring 
CHART TITLE: PRESENT YOUR STORY HEADLINE 
Legend 
30 
Axis title 
25 
20 
15 
10 
5 
Details: Data source and parameters 
Method 
Assumptions 
22 
Insights: give more detail on your headlines, summarise your findings, explain your interpretations and 
predidictions, help the reader to interprete your visualisation and understand the message. 
Recommendations: 
use text with pre-attentive attributes to highlight your message 
0 
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 
Axis title 
call-outs are great to highlight 
trends or important points 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 54 
Telling a story with 
multiple graphs 
This visualisation appeared in the NY Times, 5 Dec 2009. It covered issues around emissions and other factors of climate change in 
preparation for the Copenhagen climate conference (7/12 – 18/12/2009). Although the original is an interactive web-based 
visualisation, these slides show how simple graphs can tell an intriguing story even in static form. 
Copenhagen: Emissions, Treaties and Impacts 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 55 
Telling a story with 
multiple graphs 
Please note, the original visualisation 
contains a wealth of additional data, 
information and messages which have not 
been reproduced here for brevity’s sake. 
You can find the original at: 
Copenhagen: Emissions, Treaties 
and Impacts 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 56 
Appendix 
Six flaws in the graph: 
1. The value axis does not start at zero 
2. Using uneven time periods 
3. 3D effect 
4. Excessive use of $-sign 
5. X-axis description is not helpful 
6. No core message / key point 
End Notes: 
1 Karen Dietz, Lori Silverman: Business Storytelling for Dummies, 2013, p.17 
2 Michael Sandberg, Data Viz blog, datavizblog.com, 2013/05/26/ 
3 Colin Ware: Information Visualization: Perception for Design (Interactive Technologies), 2004, p36 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
| 57 
Resources 
and credits 
Acknowledgement: 
The work in this booklet is influenced by many sources, with especial acknowledgement for the learnings from the 
following: 
Edward Tufte: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2001 
Stephen Few: Information Dashboard Design, 2013 
Stephen Few: Now you see it, 2009 
Colin Ware: Information Visualization: Perception for Design (Interactive Technologies), 2004 
Karen Dietz, Lori Silverman: Business Storytelling for Dummies, 2013 
Geni Whitehouse: How to make a boring subject interesting, 2009 
Garr Reynolds: Presentation Zen Design, 2010 
Randall Bolten: Painting with Numbers, 2012 
Nancy Duarte: Resonate, Present visual stories that transform audiences, 2013 
Icons & Images 
Cave Painting by Luke Anthony Firth from The Noun Project 
Other icons: The Noun Project (www.nounproject.com) under creative comments licence or the author’s own 
Bev Doolittle, The forest has eyes, 1985 
Copenhagen, Emissions, Treaties and Impacts: NY Times, 5 Dec 2009 
Pie charts and Facebook graph: Flickr, under creative commons licence 
©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
CONNECT 
AND SHARE: 
Email me for more 
information 
Connect on LinkedIn Connect on Twitter 
Storytelling with Numbers

More Related Content

What's hot

Storytelling with data and data visualization
Storytelling with data and data visualizationStorytelling with data and data visualization
Storytelling with data and data visualizationFrehiwot Mulugeta
 
Visualisation & Storytelling in Data Science & Analytics
Visualisation & Storytelling in Data Science & AnalyticsVisualisation & Storytelling in Data Science & Analytics
Visualisation & Storytelling in Data Science & AnalyticsFelipe Rego
 
Identifying Your Audience
Identifying Your AudienceIdentifying Your Audience
Identifying Your AudienceAmanda Makulec
 
Telling stories with data slideshare
Telling stories with data   slideshareTelling stories with data   slideshare
Telling stories with data slideshareCathie Howe
 
Data visualization introduction
Data visualization introductionData visualization introduction
Data visualization introductionManokamnaKochar1
 
Brief introduction to data visualization
Brief introduction to data visualizationBrief introduction to data visualization
Brief introduction to data visualizationZach Gemignani
 
Summary data visualization
Summary data visualizationSummary data visualization
Summary data visualizationNovita Sari
 
Data Visualization & Data Storytelling
Data Visualization & Data StorytellingData Visualization & Data Storytelling
Data Visualization & Data Storytelling彭其捷 Jack
 
Best Practices in Metadata Management
Best Practices in Metadata ManagementBest Practices in Metadata Management
Best Practices in Metadata ManagementDATAVERSITY
 
How to Use a Semantic Layer to Deliver Actionable Insights at Scale
How to Use a Semantic Layer to Deliver Actionable Insights at ScaleHow to Use a Semantic Layer to Deliver Actionable Insights at Scale
How to Use a Semantic Layer to Deliver Actionable Insights at ScaleDATAVERSITY
 
Enterprise Data Architect Job Description
Enterprise Data Architect Job DescriptionEnterprise Data Architect Job Description
Enterprise Data Architect Job DescriptionLars E Martinsson
 
5 Data Visualization Pitfalls
5 Data Visualization Pitfalls5 Data Visualization Pitfalls
5 Data Visualization PitfallsData IQ Argentina
 
Building a Data Strategy – Practical Steps for Aligning with Business Goals
Building a Data Strategy – Practical Steps for Aligning with Business GoalsBuilding a Data Strategy – Practical Steps for Aligning with Business Goals
Building a Data Strategy – Practical Steps for Aligning with Business GoalsDATAVERSITY
 
Data Visualization
Data VisualizationData Visualization
Data Visualizationgzargary
 
Creating a Data-Driven Organization, Crunchconf, October 2015
Creating a Data-Driven Organization, Crunchconf, October 2015Creating a Data-Driven Organization, Crunchconf, October 2015
Creating a Data-Driven Organization, Crunchconf, October 2015Carl Anderson
 

What's hot (20)

Storytelling with data and data visualization
Storytelling with data and data visualizationStorytelling with data and data visualization
Storytelling with data and data visualization
 
Visualisation & Storytelling in Data Science & Analytics
Visualisation & Storytelling in Data Science & AnalyticsVisualisation & Storytelling in Data Science & Analytics
Visualisation & Storytelling in Data Science & Analytics
 
Identifying Your Audience
Identifying Your AudienceIdentifying Your Audience
Identifying Your Audience
 
Telling stories with data slideshare
Telling stories with data   slideshareTelling stories with data   slideshare
Telling stories with data slideshare
 
Data visualization introduction
Data visualization introductionData visualization introduction
Data visualization introduction
 
Storytelling with Data
Storytelling with Data Storytelling with Data
Storytelling with Data
 
Brief introduction to data visualization
Brief introduction to data visualizationBrief introduction to data visualization
Brief introduction to data visualization
 
Data Visualization
Data VisualizationData Visualization
Data Visualization
 
Summary data visualization
Summary data visualizationSummary data visualization
Summary data visualization
 
Data Visualization & Data Storytelling
Data Visualization & Data StorytellingData Visualization & Data Storytelling
Data Visualization & Data Storytelling
 
Data storytelling
Data storytelling Data storytelling
Data storytelling
 
Best Practices in Metadata Management
Best Practices in Metadata ManagementBest Practices in Metadata Management
Best Practices in Metadata Management
 
How to Use a Semantic Layer to Deliver Actionable Insights at Scale
How to Use a Semantic Layer to Deliver Actionable Insights at ScaleHow to Use a Semantic Layer to Deliver Actionable Insights at Scale
How to Use a Semantic Layer to Deliver Actionable Insights at Scale
 
Enterprise Data Architect Job Description
Enterprise Data Architect Job DescriptionEnterprise Data Architect Job Description
Enterprise Data Architect Job Description
 
5 Data Visualization Pitfalls
5 Data Visualization Pitfalls5 Data Visualization Pitfalls
5 Data Visualization Pitfalls
 
Building a Data Strategy – Practical Steps for Aligning with Business Goals
Building a Data Strategy – Practical Steps for Aligning with Business GoalsBuilding a Data Strategy – Practical Steps for Aligning with Business Goals
Building a Data Strategy – Practical Steps for Aligning with Business Goals
 
8 Steps to Creating a Data Strategy
8 Steps to Creating a Data Strategy8 Steps to Creating a Data Strategy
8 Steps to Creating a Data Strategy
 
Data Visualization
Data VisualizationData Visualization
Data Visualization
 
Creating a Data-Driven Organization, Crunchconf, October 2015
Creating a Data-Driven Organization, Crunchconf, October 2015Creating a Data-Driven Organization, Crunchconf, October 2015
Creating a Data-Driven Organization, Crunchconf, October 2015
 
3 data visualization
3 data visualization3 data visualization
3 data visualization
 

Viewers also liked

The Joy of Data Driven Storytelling
The Joy of Data Driven StorytellingThe Joy of Data Driven Storytelling
The Joy of Data Driven StorytellingLeslie Bradshaw
 
Strategic Storytelling | Business Presentation Techniques
Strategic Storytelling | Business Presentation TechniquesStrategic Storytelling | Business Presentation Techniques
Strategic Storytelling | Business Presentation TechniquesJeremey Donovan
 
Data storytelling with personas, Utrecht
Data storytelling with personas, UtrechtData storytelling with personas, Utrecht
Data storytelling with personas, UtrechtCREATIVE COMPANION
 
From Information to Insight: Data Storytelling for Organizations
From Information to Insight: Data Storytelling for OrganizationsFrom Information to Insight: Data Storytelling for Organizations
From Information to Insight: Data Storytelling for OrganizationsThinking Machines
 
Adobe Summit - Data Storytelling
Adobe Summit - Data StorytellingAdobe Summit - Data Storytelling
Adobe Summit - Data StorytellingChris Haleua
 
The Power of Visual Storytelling
The Power of Visual Storytelling The Power of Visual Storytelling
The Power of Visual Storytelling NewsCred
 
Narrative Image: The How and Why of Visual Storytelling
Narrative Image: The How and Why of Visual StorytellingNarrative Image: The How and Why of Visual Storytelling
Narrative Image: The How and Why of Visual StorytellingDaniela Molnar
 
Lightning Talk #9: How UX and Data Storytelling Can Shape Policy by Mika Aldaba
Lightning Talk #9: How UX and Data Storytelling Can Shape Policy by Mika AldabaLightning Talk #9: How UX and Data Storytelling Can Shape Policy by Mika Aldaba
Lightning Talk #9: How UX and Data Storytelling Can Shape Policy by Mika Aldabaux singapore
 
Employee Value Proposition in Corporate Human Resources
Employee Value Proposition in Corporate Human ResourcesEmployee Value Proposition in Corporate Human Resources
Employee Value Proposition in Corporate Human ResourcesSarah Brennan
 
Business Development Frameworks & Tips for Agencies
Business Development Frameworks & Tips for AgenciesBusiness Development Frameworks & Tips for Agencies
Business Development Frameworks & Tips for AgenciesLeslie Bradshaw
 
Edward segel interactive_storytelling
Edward segel interactive_storytellingEdward segel interactive_storytelling
Edward segel interactive_storytellingKristen Chan
 
Pixar's 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling
Pixar's 22 Rules to Phenomenal StorytellingPixar's 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling
Pixar's 22 Rules to Phenomenal StorytellingGavin McMahon
 
Data storytelling. Warsztaty 12. Kongres Public Relations i Komunikacji
Data storytelling. Warsztaty 12. Kongres Public Relations i KomunikacjiData storytelling. Warsztaty 12. Kongres Public Relations i Komunikacji
Data storytelling. Warsztaty 12. Kongres Public Relations i KomunikacjiPiotr Arak
 
United Way Youth Ventures: What is Marketing?
United Way Youth Ventures: What is Marketing? United Way Youth Ventures: What is Marketing?
United Way Youth Ventures: What is Marketing? HubSpot
 
The Triforce of UX: Empathy, Curiosity, Humility
The Triforce of UX: Empathy, Curiosity, HumilityThe Triforce of UX: Empathy, Curiosity, Humility
The Triforce of UX: Empathy, Curiosity, HumilityBrandon Ward
 
Introduction to wireframing ux and design
Introduction to wireframing ux and designIntroduction to wireframing ux and design
Introduction to wireframing ux and designKevin Picalausa
 
2015 HubSpot Keynote Address Recap
2015 HubSpot Keynote Address Recap2015 HubSpot Keynote Address Recap
2015 HubSpot Keynote Address RecapHubSpot
 

Viewers also liked (19)

The Joy of Data Driven Storytelling
The Joy of Data Driven StorytellingThe Joy of Data Driven Storytelling
The Joy of Data Driven Storytelling
 
Strategic Storytelling | Business Presentation Techniques
Strategic Storytelling | Business Presentation TechniquesStrategic Storytelling | Business Presentation Techniques
Strategic Storytelling | Business Presentation Techniques
 
Data storytelling with personas, Utrecht
Data storytelling with personas, UtrechtData storytelling with personas, Utrecht
Data storytelling with personas, Utrecht
 
From Information to Insight: Data Storytelling for Organizations
From Information to Insight: Data Storytelling for OrganizationsFrom Information to Insight: Data Storytelling for Organizations
From Information to Insight: Data Storytelling for Organizations
 
Adobe Summit - Data Storytelling
Adobe Summit - Data StorytellingAdobe Summit - Data Storytelling
Adobe Summit - Data Storytelling
 
The Power of Visual Storytelling
The Power of Visual Storytelling The Power of Visual Storytelling
The Power of Visual Storytelling
 
Narrative Image: The How and Why of Visual Storytelling
Narrative Image: The How and Why of Visual StorytellingNarrative Image: The How and Why of Visual Storytelling
Narrative Image: The How and Why of Visual Storytelling
 
Lightning Talk #9: How UX and Data Storytelling Can Shape Policy by Mika Aldaba
Lightning Talk #9: How UX and Data Storytelling Can Shape Policy by Mika AldabaLightning Talk #9: How UX and Data Storytelling Can Shape Policy by Mika Aldaba
Lightning Talk #9: How UX and Data Storytelling Can Shape Policy by Mika Aldaba
 
Employee Value Proposition in Corporate Human Resources
Employee Value Proposition in Corporate Human ResourcesEmployee Value Proposition in Corporate Human Resources
Employee Value Proposition in Corporate Human Resources
 
Business Development Frameworks & Tips for Agencies
Business Development Frameworks & Tips for AgenciesBusiness Development Frameworks & Tips for Agencies
Business Development Frameworks & Tips for Agencies
 
Edward segel interactive_storytelling
Edward segel interactive_storytellingEdward segel interactive_storytelling
Edward segel interactive_storytelling
 
Pixar's 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling
Pixar's 22 Rules to Phenomenal StorytellingPixar's 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling
Pixar's 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling
 
Data storytelling. Warsztaty 12. Kongres Public Relations i Komunikacji
Data storytelling. Warsztaty 12. Kongres Public Relations i KomunikacjiData storytelling. Warsztaty 12. Kongres Public Relations i Komunikacji
Data storytelling. Warsztaty 12. Kongres Public Relations i Komunikacji
 
Técnicas de brown
Técnicas de brownTécnicas de brown
Técnicas de brown
 
ChalkboardPortfolio
ChalkboardPortfolioChalkboardPortfolio
ChalkboardPortfolio
 
United Way Youth Ventures: What is Marketing?
United Way Youth Ventures: What is Marketing? United Way Youth Ventures: What is Marketing?
United Way Youth Ventures: What is Marketing?
 
The Triforce of UX: Empathy, Curiosity, Humility
The Triforce of UX: Empathy, Curiosity, HumilityThe Triforce of UX: Empathy, Curiosity, Humility
The Triforce of UX: Empathy, Curiosity, Humility
 
Introduction to wireframing ux and design
Introduction to wireframing ux and designIntroduction to wireframing ux and design
Introduction to wireframing ux and design
 
2015 HubSpot Keynote Address Recap
2015 HubSpot Keynote Address Recap2015 HubSpot Keynote Address Recap
2015 HubSpot Keynote Address Recap
 

Similar to Data stories - how to combine the power storytelling with effective data visualization

Importance of Data-Driven Storytelling Data Analysis &amp Visual Narratives.pdf
Importance of Data-Driven Storytelling Data Analysis &amp Visual Narratives.pdfImportance of Data-Driven Storytelling Data Analysis &amp Visual Narratives.pdf
Importance of Data-Driven Storytelling Data Analysis &amp Visual Narratives.pdfData Science Council of America
 
Why does telling a story with your data matters  Explain the impo.docx
Why does telling a story with your data matters  Explain the impo.docxWhy does telling a story with your data matters  Explain the impo.docx
Why does telling a story with your data matters  Explain the impo.docxfranknwest27899
 
3 razones para contar historias...
3 razones para contar historias...3 razones para contar historias...
3 razones para contar historias...Data IQ Argentina
 
The Role of Data Visualization in Storytelling with Data.pdf
The Role of Data Visualization in Storytelling with Data.pdfThe Role of Data Visualization in Storytelling with Data.pdf
The Role of Data Visualization in Storytelling with Data.pdfSoumodeep Nanee Kundu
 
Analytical Storytelling: From Insight to Action
Analytical Storytelling: From Insight to ActionAnalytical Storytelling: From Insight to Action
Analytical Storytelling: From Insight to ActionCognizant
 
How to start generating leads with infographics
How to start generating leads with infographicsHow to start generating leads with infographics
How to start generating leads with infographicsInfogram
 
Explain the concept of data storytelling in data analysis.pdf
Explain the concept of data storytelling in data analysis.pdfExplain the concept of data storytelling in data analysis.pdf
Explain the concept of data storytelling in data analysis.pdfSoumodeep Nanee Kundu
 
Data Storytelling: Neptune Digital Space
Data Storytelling: Neptune Digital SpaceData Storytelling: Neptune Digital Space
Data Storytelling: Neptune Digital SpaceNeptune Digital Space
 
Where Data and Story Meet - Building the Data Storytelling Capability
Where Data and Story Meet - Building the Data Storytelling CapabilityWhere Data and Story Meet - Building the Data Storytelling Capability
Where Data and Story Meet - Building the Data Storytelling CapabilityRanda McMinn
 
Where_Data_and_Story_Meet
Where_Data_and_Story_MeetWhere_Data_and_Story_Meet
Where_Data_and_Story_MeetHunter Whitney
 
A picture is worth a thousand words_Mathilda Eloff
A picture is worth a thousand words_Mathilda EloffA picture is worth a thousand words_Mathilda Eloff
A picture is worth a thousand words_Mathilda EloffMathilda Eloff
 
Data Visualisation - Convert insights into actions
Data Visualisation - Convert insights into actionsData Visualisation - Convert insights into actions
Data Visualisation - Convert insights into actionsAnnalect Finland
 
Telling Great Stories With Data
Telling Great Stories With DataTelling Great Stories With Data
Telling Great Stories With DataDennis Walthers
 
The Symphony of Connected Interactive Content Marketing
The Symphony of Connected Interactive Content MarketingThe Symphony of Connected Interactive Content Marketing
The Symphony of Connected Interactive Content MarketingContent Marketing Institute
 
Small Data: a Brief History and a New Design Philosophy
Small Data: a Brief History and a New Design PhilosophySmall Data: a Brief History and a New Design Philosophy
Small Data: a Brief History and a New Design PhilosophyAllen Bonde
 
WHITE PAPER - Your Social (Media) Footprint Will Soon Replace Your CV
WHITE PAPER - Your Social (Media) Footprint Will Soon Replace Your CVWHITE PAPER - Your Social (Media) Footprint Will Soon Replace Your CV
WHITE PAPER - Your Social (Media) Footprint Will Soon Replace Your CVAytan Hilton (Interim)
 
12 principles of data story design
12 principles of data story design12 principles of data story design
12 principles of data story designZach Gemignani
 

Similar to Data stories - how to combine the power storytelling with effective data visualization (20)

Importance of Data-Driven Storytelling Data Analysis &amp Visual Narratives.pdf
Importance of Data-Driven Storytelling Data Analysis &amp Visual Narratives.pdfImportance of Data-Driven Storytelling Data Analysis &amp Visual Narratives.pdf
Importance of Data-Driven Storytelling Data Analysis &amp Visual Narratives.pdf
 
Why does telling a story with your data matters  Explain the impo.docx
Why does telling a story with your data matters  Explain the impo.docxWhy does telling a story with your data matters  Explain the impo.docx
Why does telling a story with your data matters  Explain the impo.docx
 
3 razones para contar historias...
3 razones para contar historias...3 razones para contar historias...
3 razones para contar historias...
 
The Role of Data Visualization in Storytelling with Data.pdf
The Role of Data Visualization in Storytelling with Data.pdfThe Role of Data Visualization in Storytelling with Data.pdf
The Role of Data Visualization in Storytelling with Data.pdf
 
Analytical Storytelling: From Insight to Action
Analytical Storytelling: From Insight to ActionAnalytical Storytelling: From Insight to Action
Analytical Storytelling: From Insight to Action
 
How to start generating leads with infographics
How to start generating leads with infographicsHow to start generating leads with infographics
How to start generating leads with infographics
 
Explain the concept of data storytelling in data analysis.pdf
Explain the concept of data storytelling in data analysis.pdfExplain the concept of data storytelling in data analysis.pdf
Explain the concept of data storytelling in data analysis.pdf
 
July Update Breakfast
July Update BreakfastJuly Update Breakfast
July Update Breakfast
 
Data Storytelling: Neptune Digital Space
Data Storytelling: Neptune Digital SpaceData Storytelling: Neptune Digital Space
Data Storytelling: Neptune Digital Space
 
Where Data and Story Meet - Building the Data Storytelling Capability
Where Data and Story Meet - Building the Data Storytelling CapabilityWhere Data and Story Meet - Building the Data Storytelling Capability
Where Data and Story Meet - Building the Data Storytelling Capability
 
Where_Data_and_Story_Meet
Where_Data_and_Story_MeetWhere_Data_and_Story_Meet
Where_Data_and_Story_Meet
 
A picture is worth a thousand words_Mathilda Eloff
A picture is worth a thousand words_Mathilda EloffA picture is worth a thousand words_Mathilda Eloff
A picture is worth a thousand words_Mathilda Eloff
 
Data Visualisation - Convert insights into actions
Data Visualisation - Convert insights into actionsData Visualisation - Convert insights into actions
Data Visualisation - Convert insights into actions
 
Telling Great Stories With Data
Telling Great Stories With DataTelling Great Stories With Data
Telling Great Stories With Data
 
The Symphony of Connected Interactive Content Marketing
The Symphony of Connected Interactive Content MarketingThe Symphony of Connected Interactive Content Marketing
The Symphony of Connected Interactive Content Marketing
 
Small Data: a Brief History and a New Design Philosophy
Small Data: a Brief History and a New Design PhilosophySmall Data: a Brief History and a New Design Philosophy
Small Data: a Brief History and a New Design Philosophy
 
5 Hidden Factors Driving Complexity
5 Hidden Factors Driving Complexity5 Hidden Factors Driving Complexity
5 Hidden Factors Driving Complexity
 
SxSW 2015: Key Insights
SxSW 2015: Key InsightsSxSW 2015: Key Insights
SxSW 2015: Key Insights
 
WHITE PAPER - Your Social (Media) Footprint Will Soon Replace Your CV
WHITE PAPER - Your Social (Media) Footprint Will Soon Replace Your CVWHITE PAPER - Your Social (Media) Footprint Will Soon Replace Your CV
WHITE PAPER - Your Social (Media) Footprint Will Soon Replace Your CV
 
12 principles of data story design
12 principles of data story design12 principles of data story design
12 principles of data story design
 

More from Coincidencity

Future of work: Self-management, business purpose and employee engagement
Future of work: Self-management, business purpose and employee engagementFuture of work: Self-management, business purpose and employee engagement
Future of work: Self-management, business purpose and employee engagementCoincidencity
 
Tell your start up story
Tell your start up storyTell your start up story
Tell your start up storyCoincidencity
 
Big data stories: how to do more with data
Big data stories: how to do more with dataBig data stories: how to do more with data
Big data stories: how to do more with dataCoincidencity
 
What is big data about
What is big data aboutWhat is big data about
What is big data aboutCoincidencity
 
Business model talk july 2013
Business model talk july 2013Business model talk july 2013
Business model talk july 2013Coincidencity
 
How to give a compelling finance presentation
How to give a compelling finance presentationHow to give a compelling finance presentation
How to give a compelling finance presentationCoincidencity
 

More from Coincidencity (6)

Future of work: Self-management, business purpose and employee engagement
Future of work: Self-management, business purpose and employee engagementFuture of work: Self-management, business purpose and employee engagement
Future of work: Self-management, business purpose and employee engagement
 
Tell your start up story
Tell your start up storyTell your start up story
Tell your start up story
 
Big data stories: how to do more with data
Big data stories: how to do more with dataBig data stories: how to do more with data
Big data stories: how to do more with data
 
What is big data about
What is big data aboutWhat is big data about
What is big data about
 
Business model talk july 2013
Business model talk july 2013Business model talk july 2013
Business model talk july 2013
 
How to give a compelling finance presentation
How to give a compelling finance presentationHow to give a compelling finance presentation
How to give a compelling finance presentation
 

Recently uploaded

MAHA Global and IPR: Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?
MAHA Global and IPR: Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?MAHA Global and IPR: Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?
MAHA Global and IPR: Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?Olivia Kresic
 
Call Us 📲8800102216📞 Call Girls In DLF City Gurgaon
Call Us 📲8800102216📞 Call Girls In DLF City GurgaonCall Us 📲8800102216📞 Call Girls In DLF City Gurgaon
Call Us 📲8800102216📞 Call Girls In DLF City Gurgaoncallgirls2057
 
Independent Call Girls Andheri Nightlaila 9967584737
Independent Call Girls Andheri Nightlaila 9967584737Independent Call Girls Andheri Nightlaila 9967584737
Independent Call Girls Andheri Nightlaila 9967584737Riya Pathan
 
Traction part 2 - EOS Model JAX Bridges.
Traction part 2 - EOS Model JAX Bridges.Traction part 2 - EOS Model JAX Bridges.
Traction part 2 - EOS Model JAX Bridges.Anamaria Contreras
 
Chapter 9 PPT 4th edition.pdf internal audit
Chapter 9 PPT 4th edition.pdf internal auditChapter 9 PPT 4th edition.pdf internal audit
Chapter 9 PPT 4th edition.pdf internal auditNhtLNguyn9
 
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Uttam Nagar Delhi NCR
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Uttam Nagar Delhi NCR8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Uttam Nagar Delhi NCR
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Uttam Nagar Delhi NCRashishs7044
 
Kenya Coconut Production Presentation by Dr. Lalith Perera
Kenya Coconut Production Presentation by Dr. Lalith PereraKenya Coconut Production Presentation by Dr. Lalith Perera
Kenya Coconut Production Presentation by Dr. Lalith Pereraictsugar
 
1911 Gold Corporate Presentation Apr 2024.pdf
1911 Gold Corporate Presentation Apr 2024.pdf1911 Gold Corporate Presentation Apr 2024.pdf
1911 Gold Corporate Presentation Apr 2024.pdfShaun Heinrichs
 
Innovation Conference 5th March 2024.pdf
Innovation Conference 5th March 2024.pdfInnovation Conference 5th March 2024.pdf
Innovation Conference 5th March 2024.pdfrichard876048
 
Investment in The Coconut Industry by Nancy Cheruiyot
Investment in The Coconut Industry by Nancy CheruiyotInvestment in The Coconut Industry by Nancy Cheruiyot
Investment in The Coconut Industry by Nancy Cheruiyotictsugar
 
Memorándum de Entendimiento (MoU) entre Codelco y SQM
Memorándum de Entendimiento (MoU) entre Codelco y SQMMemorándum de Entendimiento (MoU) entre Codelco y SQM
Memorándum de Entendimiento (MoU) entre Codelco y SQMVoces Mineras
 
Entrepreneurship lessons in Philippines
Entrepreneurship lessons in  PhilippinesEntrepreneurship lessons in  Philippines
Entrepreneurship lessons in PhilippinesDavidSamuel525586
 
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Dwarka mor Delhi NCR
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Dwarka mor Delhi NCR8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Dwarka mor Delhi NCR
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Dwarka mor Delhi NCRashishs7044
 
Unlocking the Future: Explore Web 3.0 Workshop to Start Earning Today!
Unlocking the Future: Explore Web 3.0 Workshop to Start Earning Today!Unlocking the Future: Explore Web 3.0 Workshop to Start Earning Today!
Unlocking the Future: Explore Web 3.0 Workshop to Start Earning Today!Doge Mining Website
 
APRIL2024_UKRAINE_xml_0000000000000 .pdf
APRIL2024_UKRAINE_xml_0000000000000 .pdfAPRIL2024_UKRAINE_xml_0000000000000 .pdf
APRIL2024_UKRAINE_xml_0000000000000 .pdfRbc Rbcua
 
Call US-88OO1O2216 Call Girls In Mahipalpur Female Escort Service
Call US-88OO1O2216 Call Girls In Mahipalpur Female Escort ServiceCall US-88OO1O2216 Call Girls In Mahipalpur Female Escort Service
Call US-88OO1O2216 Call Girls In Mahipalpur Female Escort Servicecallgirls2057
 
Church Building Grants To Assist With New Construction, Additions, And Restor...
Church Building Grants To Assist With New Construction, Additions, And Restor...Church Building Grants To Assist With New Construction, Additions, And Restor...
Church Building Grants To Assist With New Construction, Additions, And Restor...Americas Got Grants
 
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Tughlakabad Delhi NCR
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Tughlakabad Delhi NCR8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Tughlakabad Delhi NCR
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Tughlakabad Delhi NCRashishs7044
 

Recently uploaded (20)

MAHA Global and IPR: Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?
MAHA Global and IPR: Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?MAHA Global and IPR: Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?
MAHA Global and IPR: Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?
 
Call Us 📲8800102216📞 Call Girls In DLF City Gurgaon
Call Us 📲8800102216📞 Call Girls In DLF City GurgaonCall Us 📲8800102216📞 Call Girls In DLF City Gurgaon
Call Us 📲8800102216📞 Call Girls In DLF City Gurgaon
 
Independent Call Girls Andheri Nightlaila 9967584737
Independent Call Girls Andheri Nightlaila 9967584737Independent Call Girls Andheri Nightlaila 9967584737
Independent Call Girls Andheri Nightlaila 9967584737
 
Traction part 2 - EOS Model JAX Bridges.
Traction part 2 - EOS Model JAX Bridges.Traction part 2 - EOS Model JAX Bridges.
Traction part 2 - EOS Model JAX Bridges.
 
Chapter 9 PPT 4th edition.pdf internal audit
Chapter 9 PPT 4th edition.pdf internal auditChapter 9 PPT 4th edition.pdf internal audit
Chapter 9 PPT 4th edition.pdf internal audit
 
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Uttam Nagar Delhi NCR
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Uttam Nagar Delhi NCR8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Uttam Nagar Delhi NCR
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Uttam Nagar Delhi NCR
 
Kenya Coconut Production Presentation by Dr. Lalith Perera
Kenya Coconut Production Presentation by Dr. Lalith PereraKenya Coconut Production Presentation by Dr. Lalith Perera
Kenya Coconut Production Presentation by Dr. Lalith Perera
 
1911 Gold Corporate Presentation Apr 2024.pdf
1911 Gold Corporate Presentation Apr 2024.pdf1911 Gold Corporate Presentation Apr 2024.pdf
1911 Gold Corporate Presentation Apr 2024.pdf
 
Innovation Conference 5th March 2024.pdf
Innovation Conference 5th March 2024.pdfInnovation Conference 5th March 2024.pdf
Innovation Conference 5th March 2024.pdf
 
Call Us ➥9319373153▻Call Girls In North Goa
Call Us ➥9319373153▻Call Girls In North GoaCall Us ➥9319373153▻Call Girls In North Goa
Call Us ➥9319373153▻Call Girls In North Goa
 
Investment in The Coconut Industry by Nancy Cheruiyot
Investment in The Coconut Industry by Nancy CheruiyotInvestment in The Coconut Industry by Nancy Cheruiyot
Investment in The Coconut Industry by Nancy Cheruiyot
 
Memorándum de Entendimiento (MoU) entre Codelco y SQM
Memorándum de Entendimiento (MoU) entre Codelco y SQMMemorándum de Entendimiento (MoU) entre Codelco y SQM
Memorándum de Entendimiento (MoU) entre Codelco y SQM
 
Entrepreneurship lessons in Philippines
Entrepreneurship lessons in  PhilippinesEntrepreneurship lessons in  Philippines
Entrepreneurship lessons in Philippines
 
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Dwarka mor Delhi NCR
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Dwarka mor Delhi NCR8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Dwarka mor Delhi NCR
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Dwarka mor Delhi NCR
 
Unlocking the Future: Explore Web 3.0 Workshop to Start Earning Today!
Unlocking the Future: Explore Web 3.0 Workshop to Start Earning Today!Unlocking the Future: Explore Web 3.0 Workshop to Start Earning Today!
Unlocking the Future: Explore Web 3.0 Workshop to Start Earning Today!
 
APRIL2024_UKRAINE_xml_0000000000000 .pdf
APRIL2024_UKRAINE_xml_0000000000000 .pdfAPRIL2024_UKRAINE_xml_0000000000000 .pdf
APRIL2024_UKRAINE_xml_0000000000000 .pdf
 
Call US-88OO1O2216 Call Girls In Mahipalpur Female Escort Service
Call US-88OO1O2216 Call Girls In Mahipalpur Female Escort ServiceCall US-88OO1O2216 Call Girls In Mahipalpur Female Escort Service
Call US-88OO1O2216 Call Girls In Mahipalpur Female Escort Service
 
Japan IT Week 2024 Brochure by 47Billion (English)
Japan IT Week 2024 Brochure by 47Billion (English)Japan IT Week 2024 Brochure by 47Billion (English)
Japan IT Week 2024 Brochure by 47Billion (English)
 
Church Building Grants To Assist With New Construction, Additions, And Restor...
Church Building Grants To Assist With New Construction, Additions, And Restor...Church Building Grants To Assist With New Construction, Additions, And Restor...
Church Building Grants To Assist With New Construction, Additions, And Restor...
 
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Tughlakabad Delhi NCR
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Tughlakabad Delhi NCR8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Tughlakabad Delhi NCR
8447779800, Low rate Call girls in Tughlakabad Delhi NCR
 

Data stories - how to combine the power storytelling with effective data visualization

  • 1. DATA STORIES Creating compelling stories with data Effectively combining Storytelling, Data Visualisation and business reporting February 24, 2014 Prepared by: Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 2. Visual communication: Data Visualisation | 2 . Table of Contents 03 06 10 15 17 page page page page page Introduction to Business Storytelling What is different about Data Storytelling page page 19 30 page 40 Storytelling: Create a narrative page page page 52 56 57 Visual communication: Expressiveness et al Visual communication: The right tools Visual communication: Drawing attention Visual communication: Guidelines Storytelling: Examples Appendix End notes Resources and credits page page 44 47 Storytelling: Create a compelling structure Storyboarding for content and lay-out ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 3. | 3 Storytelling in Business What has storytelling to do with business? Isn’t business about hard facts and figures? Actually, storytelling has become big business. Corporate storytelling has gone mainstream in the last decade, with leaders use storytelling techniques to inspire staff and all self-respecting marketers use stories when talking about products, services and brands. Using stories to convey a message not a new thing. Storytelling is one human trait that transcends time and culture. Examples of stories have been found in all known societies throughout history.. The most common focus for storytelling in business is to persuade, influence and motivate an audience. Think of a CEO standing in front of a crowd of employees. Or a major brand trying to entice customer to buy more of their products. Because of that, you find most business storytellers within marketing, branding and sales functions and among leadership groups. However, with the rise of ever more data being accessible and digestible by organisation, a new kind of business story teller is emerging among data scientist, analysts and other technical professionals. News media businesses are already on the case: Data Journalist has become a recognised job description. “Data Storyteller” also seems set to become a common job description, alongside data scientist . And if you google “Master Data Storyteller” you will find more than one company ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers advertising vacancies!
  • 4. | 4 How to we define “stories” in business? The Oxford Dictionary defines “story” as: 1: An account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment; 2: A report of an item of news in a newspaper, magazine, or broadcast; 3: An account of past events in someone’s life or in the development of something; 4: The commercial prospects or circumstances of a particular company. There is no single, ultimate definition for what constitutes a story, just many, many opinions Most traditional definitions of “story” demand that a story includes a protagonist, some kind of struggle or conflict, dialogue and sensory language. That would mean that many forms of narrative do not qualify, including for example, silent movies and video games, even though there is a large industry devoted to developing storylines for games. Based on that definition, the place for stories in business would be limited, and many areas of organisations might shy away from exploring the benefits of stories. To define Data Stories, we therefore adopt a more inclusive approach: Stories are accounts of real or imaginary events that engage the listener in interactive1 communication ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 5. | 5 How Storytelling works Research in neuroscience and psychology investigates what happens when we are exposed to stories. It’s shown that stories have a physical, mental and emotional impact on us, and that evolution has indeed hardwired our brains to respond to stories differently compared with all other forms of communication1. Stories can make the complex simple Living in an increasingly complex world, we place a lot of reliance on facts and data. However, the numbers rarely speak for themselves, they need expert interpretation. Stories can provide that interpretation by taking analysis results, trends and scenarios off the spreadsheets and bringing them into the world of people. They can convey complex relationships, provide context and allow us to compare what we hear to our experience – thus enabling us to assimilate information quicker and question more insightful those things that don’t fit our expectations. Stories make information memorable Research shows most people forget facts and data quickly. However, people can vividly recall stories they heard in childhood. Studies into how our brain reacts to stories show that stories give people an emotional frame of reference. This makes stories “sticky” and they provide the language to be recalled quickly. Stories can foster collaboration and embed values In modern organisations, we are often part of multi-function teams and collaboration is vital to achieve the business’ goals. Using stories can help create common ground by enabling us to share experiences and make abstract concepts tangible. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 6. | 6 What is different about Data Storytelling Data stories combine narrative storytelling with data in a format that makes the data easily accessible, generally using visualisation: General issues with business communication Many traditional business reports and presentations err on the side of detail, resulting in lengthy documents with dense text, tables and over-busy graphs. Of course, executives and meeting attendees then regularly initiate an exercise to reduce the paper mountain, asking for executive summaries, highlights or exception reports, one page briefing memos and dashboards. The trick here is to ensure that all the relevant information is still present in the shortened version and your message comes across clearly. Too often, the shortened version (and sometime the long version as well) does not answer the crucial question: So what? What is the story? Data stories – how they can help Data stories take advantage of the power of storytelling to quickly provide context and establish relevance and expectations. This enables the audience to grasp a large quantity of facts quickly This is combined with the power of effective visual communication to let the audience grasp large amounts of information in “chunks” that help the working memory retain information. There is a large body of evidence showing that the working memory is correlated with problem solving, learning, reasoning, and reading comprehension – all good ingredients for your audience to experience. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 7. | 7 Data Storytelling: Definition A method of delivering messages derived from complex data analysis in a way that allows the audience to quickly and easily assimilate the material, understand its meaning and draw conclusions from it. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 8. | 8 Key ingredients for Data Storytelling - 1 A message Without a message, you have no story. And you owe it your audience to give them a story. A data scientists or data analysts job is partly to assemble the data (mine, discover, unearth, aggregate) and help the rest of the world to draw meaning from it without the audience having to understand the hundreds of caveats, sources, transformations, etc. necessary to get usable insights. A poor data scientist is a number monkey, able to use new tools to blindly pull whatever information is asked of him. He will be replaced by automated tools in the next 10 years. A good data scientist does the job of the poor one and more. She is a critical reviewer of the data. She develops a hypothesis based on the data, verifies her hypotheses by investigating similar data that would disprove her hypotheses, making sure she catches any obvious mistakes. She makes sure her audience understands what the data suggests and what it does NOT suggest. She helps the audience - whether that is the CEO, CMO, BOD, or conference attendees - to understand that because something is correlated, one effect is not necessarily caused by another, and keeps the insights sane. At the end of the day her analysis is successful when actions can be taken from her insights and she has been asked about angles she had not yet explored. Going beyond the data means presenting a message – key to effective (data) storytelling ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 9. | 9 Key ingredients for Data Storytelling - 2 Narrative A narrative is any account of connected events, presented to a reader or listener in a sequence of written or spoken words, or in a sequence of (moving) pictures or acted display. It’s the tool you use to convey your message. When it comes to data stories, you select from a combination of words, graphics and potential videos (mime and dance are less likely in a business setting). Structure and flow Structure is the internal framework that holds the data story together. Flow is the “movement” through the story; the order in which you arrange the information and style to present the information to your audience. Visual communication A good data visualization has the ability to show you something that you wouldn’t have seen by only looking at the data, it presents the data in a way that the viewer can explore and understand it. Most commonly, charts and graphs are used for this purpose. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 10. Data Visualisation Expressiveness, precision and accuracy The right tools Drawing attention Guidelines Visual communication ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 11. | 11 Data visualization and communication Visualisations have the power to “show” the story behind the data – and they are nothing new. In fact, one of the best known early data stories is the visualisation of Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812 by Charles Joseph Minard, a French engineer with a flair for “infographics”: The flow map shows the size of Napoleon’s army at different stages of the campaign combining geography, time, temperature, the course and direction of the army’s movement, and the number of troops remaining to tell the story of this dreadful campaign: In 1812, the Grand Army set out from Poland with a force of 422,000; only 100,000 reached Moscow; and only 10,000 returned2. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 12. | 12 Data visualization and communication Much of the focus in data visualization has historically been on exploring and analysing data. But the analysts who use visualization often are not the decision makers, so they need to communicate their findings to the decision makers. The problem is that many data visualisations used for communication purposes are bad – as simple as that. This ranges from many infographics used for marketing purposes to certain default graphs in excel or the outputs by data visualisation tools where it is assumed that the tools used for analysis are usable for presentation just as well as for their original purpose. What happened to the other 10%? Who are the other 7 ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 13. | 13 What is wrong with this chart? Spot at least 6 flaws in this bar chart* *Solution in the appendix ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 14. Data Visualisation Expressiveness, precision and accuracy The right tools Drawing attention Guidelines Visual communication ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 15. | 15 Expressiveness Precision Accuracy Translating data into visual forms is called visual encoding. For visual communication to be effective in data stories, the visualisation needs to express the encoded data in a meaningful way. This means not trying to show every piece of data under the sun but all the facts that are relevant. Editorialising should be done explicitly and transparently, for example by using colour or other focus-driving tools or with words. Editorialising must never be done underhand using tools such as artificial scaling of axis, misleading selection of source data or implying relationships where there are none. Precision is different from expressiveness and it is concerned with the level details you want to give. A simple example of precision is the number of decimal point displayed in a table. Depending on the needs of the audience, you might opt for more or less decimal points. Accuracy is again different from both expressiveness and precision. The relationship between accuracy and precision is particularly important, as sometimes greater precision is associated with accuracy, even when this relationship does not exist. An example of the difference is this: Imagine you are running a charity tombola where participants have to guess the value of copper coins in a jar. One participant guesses the coins total “£3,234.67” and another guesses “about £2,000”. If the coins come to £2,054, then the first guess is the more precise one but the second the more accurate one. It goes without saying that you should feel comfortable about the accuracy of the data encoded, whereas expressiveness of the level of precision and method of encoding depend on the circumstances. Expressiveness tells the story Precision is about level of detail Accuracy describes correctness ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 16. Data Visualisation Expressiveness, precision and accuracy The right tools Drawing attention Guidelines Visual communication ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 17. | 17 Choosing the right tool for the job Tables are the right choice if the audience wants to look up individual values of a data set. They allow to pick up individual points with great precision. They can also be useful if you want to display a very small data set of up to 10 data points or less. Graphs, on the other hand reveal meaningful relationships between the data. Using graphs enables you to see trends, patterns and exceptions in the underlying data that might remain hidden if displayed as a table. When deciding that a graph is the best tool to visually display your story, you need to decide what data relationships you want to display. Different graphs work for different relationship types, so consider: Do you want to show a comparison? A distribution? A Composition or a relationship? The two most common forms to visually encode data is with graphs and tables. Both are excellent tools, when chosen for the right task. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 18. Data Visualisation Expressiveness, precision and accuracy The right tools Drawing attention Guidelines Visual communication ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 19. | 19 The whole is different to the sum of its part Gestalt Theory: how we make sense of what we see
  • 20. Gestalt theory: how do we make sense of what we see Once you have decided on your message, effective visual communication is about showing it to the audience and this means enabling people to see it effectively . | 20 The presentation needs to play to the strength of visual perception and minimising its weaknesses. In order to do this, it is necessary to understand a bit about how visual perception works, i.e. how people see, how their eyes work. The eye and visual cortex have been likened to a massive parallel processor, feeding into the human cognitive centres. The strength of the human visual system is that is an unparalleled pattern detector but it works to its own rules. If the patterns are presented in one way, we can easily see them but in another way, we cannot3. There is extensive research into what the rules of perception and cognition are, going all the way back to the work by the Berliner Schule der Gestaltpsychologie (Berlin School of Gestalt psychology), established in the early 20th Century. Gestalt means “form”, “patterns” or “shape”. The Gestalt theory stipulates that the whole is different to the sum of its parts (NOT more), and that perception is not built up from stimuli sensation (i.e. light from an object entering the eye) but is a result of perceptual organisation. How does this relate to Data Storytelling? Data stories, by their very definition, include data and visuals. Using the principles of Gestalt theory helps choosing the most appropriate design for these visuals, and avoid confusing mistakes. For example, not visually grouping unrelated items or visually connecting items where there is no real connection All of this allows us to identify what we really need when we communicate data - and remove the clutter! . ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 21. . To explain the phenomenon of perceptual organisation, Gestalt theory established a number of “principles of perception”. Key ones are: | 21 Making sense of what we see … Pragnanz Simple patterns are noticed before other, more complex ones. Visual perception reduces patterns to the simplest possible structure, searching for pithiness Continuation and closure Points, when connected, result in contours. These contours follow the smoothest path and even trick the eye into perceiving things that are not there. This includes “completing” a figure, even if parts are missing. Applying these principles in business report might look like this: ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 22. | 22 Making sense of what we see … (cont). Common region Elements grouped together in a region are perceived to belong together Connectedness A connected region of visual properties is perceived as a single unit Common fate & Synchronicity Elements that move together or change together (e.g. blinking lights) are perceived to belong together. Applying these principles in business report might look like this: ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 23. | 23 Making sense of what we see … (cont). Meaningfulness and familiarity Visual elements are more likely to be perceived as groups if the groups appear meaningful or familiar. The bottom data chart plays on the concept of familiarity. As the colour RED is associated with something bad (in many cultures), it draws attention to the months with poor performance. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 24. | 24 Making sense of what we see … (cont). Similarity Elements that are visually similar, appear grouped together. Proximity Elements that are visually grouped together are perceived as belonging together Combining the principles of proximity and similarity ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 25. | 25 Pre-attentive Attributes
  • 26. | 26 Some elements command more attention than others: Proximity vs. Similarity: Which one wins? Pre-attentive attributes Research into how the human visual system analyses images discovered a limited set of visual properties that are detected very rapidly and accurately by low-level visual system. These are properties are deemed to have pre-attentive attributes. This is important for design of visualizations as it lets us understand:  what can be perceived immediately  what properties are good discriminators  what can mislead viewers Knowing this, we can guide attention to the key points in our story. How many fives can you spot quickly? ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 27. | 27 Grabbing attention There are a total of 12 types of pre-attentive attributes. We can use a combination of our understanding of Gestalt principles and strategically placed pre-attentive attributes to direct our readers attention without taking away any essential information. Line length Line width Orientation Shape 2D position Size Additions Enclosure Intensity Hue Blinking Flicker Direction Curvature / form Motion Only some pre-attentive attributes are perceived quantitative. 2D position and Line length are the strongest, though Line width, Size and Intensity have limited pre-attentive quantitative qualities ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 28. | 28 Pre-attentive attributes applied Intensity and hue can draw attention but on their own they need a definition to become meaningful, e.g. traffic light designation of red as “bad” (which itself needs clear definition). Fairly accurate perception: We can perceive relatively small differences in position or line length and get a “feel” for the difference. Limited accuracy in perception: small differences are much harder to perceive when it comes to angles, slopes and areas. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 29. | 29 Pre-attentive attributes are not limited to graphs Good Data storytelling contain text as well as graphs and tables, so we can use pre-attentive features to highlight specific sections, make larger chunks of text more digest-able and direct attention Bigger elements like letters, numbers and objects stand out more than smaller ones. Slanted words, letters and number stand out from those with regular orientation. Making the lines of elements like letters and numbers thicker lets them stand out more. Choosing a different font changes the shape and lets elements like letters and numbers stand out from others. Adding or enclosing letters, numbers and objects lets them stand out from those that are not. Changing the hue (colour) or intensity of letters and numbers makes them stand out. But avoid the Ransom Note effect ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 30. Data Visualisation Expressiveness, precision and accuracy The right tools Drawing attention Guidelines Visual communication ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 31. | 31 Guidelines for effective visual communication Combine the principles of Gestalt theory, pre-attentive attributes and generally accepted graphic design principles #1 Only display information that is relevant to your message. Of course, you must include all information that is relevant to the case in point – never (!) exclude information simply because it doesn’t fit your message . If there is such information, you might have to rethink your argument. However, many charts (aided by the excesses of Excel) include superfluous information – background pictures, numerous colours, 3D effects, excessive gridlines or labels. Edward Tufte calls this chart junk and the aim is to increase the data:ink ratio ( the proportion of Ink (or pixels) that is used to present actual data compared to the total amount of ink used in the entire display). ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 32. | 32 Guidelines for effective visual communication #2 Visual differences are perceived as actual differences in the data or underlying message That means differences in colour for example should have some meaning to be effective communication tools – rainbow coloured charts like this one could imply a link between e.g. the yellow tinted months, even though no such link exists. Therefore limit the use of visual differences to those points that you want to highlights are part of your story. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 33. Bar charts must start at zero to represent data faithfully | 33 Guidelines for effective visual communication #3 Display visual differences in proportion to the actual differences in the underlying data People perceive differences in the lengths or 2-D locations of objects fairly accurately and interpret them as differences in the actual values that they represent. The most common area where this is an issue is when bar charts don’t cross at zero. Compare the monthly differences in these two graphs: The data is the same but the graph on the right seems to say sales in Mar are almost double that of Jan, which is untrue. The reason is that we cannot help noticing the length of a bar, hence bar charts must always start at zero. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 34. | 34 Guidelines for effective visual communication #4 Visually connecting values are perceived to imply a direct relationship in the underlying value When we connect data point, e.g. in a line chart, the viewer interprets the data to have some form of intrinsic relationship, even if the data really only is only nominally related. In those cases, chose a bar charts instead of connecting lines. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 35. | 35 Guidelines for effective visual communication #5 guide people’s attention by making some visual elements more salient Letting some visual elements “stand out” drives the viewer’s attention and they will see those elements as more important than others. As we have seen in the section on pre-attentive attributes, there are number of ways we can achieve this effect, colour just being one simple method. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 36. | 36 Guidelines for effective visual communication #6 Help your brain to process information by combining multiple facts into a single visual pattern Holding information in the working memory is essential to processing the information. Research has shown that the brain can only hold about 4 chunks of information at any given time in the working memory. Combining (also called chunking in psychology) several data points in a visual pattern assist the brain to retain more information in one go and process it accordingly. The graph is a good example of chunking. Making sure that all the relevant information is available within easy eye-span is another aspect of chunking. Remember how annoying it is if a report has related information on separate pages and you have to keep flipping backwards and forwards? ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 37. | 37 Guidelines for effective visual communication #7 Just because some tools are popular that does not make them useful There are at least five reasons why the ever popular pie chart (and their cousins, doughnut and gauges) are often not a good choice when it comes to visually displaying data, regardless what the media tells you. Pie charts imply that the components they show sum up to the whole. They say that if you add all the slices, you get 100% of whatever you are trying to measure. This might not be correct as shown in this pie because it misses out on quite a number of other social media channels. Just like the slices of a pie chart must represent a whole, they also have to be mutually exclusive. As soon as values can fall into more than one category, for example when it comes to expressing preferences, a pie chart is not the right tool. A common problem with pie charts is that they cannot show more than a few categories and remain effective. While they can work for up to 4 categories, anything more than you are ending up with a pretty pattern, but no real discernable information. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 38. | 38 Guidelines for effective visual communication #7 (cont)… if in doubt, stay off the pies Under most circumstances, pies are hard to read. It’s because we are not very good at judging angles other than 90°, 180° and 270°. It makes it difficult to compare the relative size of slices– and when comparing different pie charts it is almost impossible to draw sensible conclusions. Things get even worse when visual distortions are applied to pretty-fy the charts to make them more “interesting”. Particular culprits are the infamous 3D effect and the exploding pie. When faced with these kind of charts, you will find that most people will simply focus on the numbers, trying their best to ignore the actual chart – make the whole visualization pretty pointless How helpful are these two charts? Sales 2012 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr Sales 2013 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 39. | 39 Guidelines for effective visual communication #8 Crowding too many visual elements into one space reduces the visual impact of all elements White space is the space that exists, most frequently behind and around forms, in a work of art, graphic design or other form of visual communication. The term white space derives from the newspaper and magazine print industry. Historically, resources like paper were scarce and printing was expensive, and publishers tried to pack as much information on every page. It was only in the early 1900’s that white space was “officially” recognised and important design element. The biggest mistake most people make is seeing white space as something that must be filled in—as something that is wasted unless it is occupied with more elements. But white space makes the positive elements of a visual communication design stand out and avoids clutter The intentional use of space does not just lead to better aesthetic qualities; it’s a powerful tool for directing the eye. White space, then, is absolutely crucial for obtaining clarity in your message. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 40. Storytelling Narrative Story structure Storyboarding content and layout Telling your story ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 41. | 41 Create a narrative around your message Presenting data – even as visualisation – is not enough. Consider how to build a story around your core message. Building a narrative includes answering the “how?”, the “why?” and the often missed “so what?” (some traditional storytelling would also ask “who”, though this might not be the case for business reports. This does not only convey a lot of information in a short space and make complex insights accessible, but a solid narrative can create order and make sense of a lot of information – and set the direction for further investigation ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers When it comes to preparing to communicate with others, most of us look at the content and say to ourselves: this is important stuff, I must tell others…. It’s called being content led but to really engage with your audience, turn it into an audience led one. We do that by focusing clearly on the what you want from your audience as a result of your communication. It’s called the Most Important Point. So right before you start, before putting pen to paper, ask yourself these 4 questions: • What do you want the audience to do as a result of your presentation? (Use action verbs.) • What does your audience need to know in order to do that? • What does your audience need to feel in order to do that? • Why would your audience want to do what you want them to do? (What is in it for them?)
  • 42. Of course, the content of your presentation is determined by the information you want to communicate, and your Most Important Point. But to make sure that your message does indeed get heard about the noise, you need to tell it in a compelling manner. Using stories, you can either wrap your whole communication into a story format (maybe tell the story of how your project has overcome great adversity or how your business is about to embark on a brand new direction) or sprinkle some stories into your presentations. Analogies and comparisons work well here, too. | 42 The most powerful stories are about people In business settings, the best stories are those that focus on real people. Yes, even a presentation or report with lots of facts and data is still about real people. Finding inspiration for your story: Specifically for numbers and data, try comparing or contrasting the numbers with something familiar. For Example: scaling down works by breaking the grandness of a number down into something that everyone understands, e.g. the price of a coffee. (e.g. the total is less than the price of just one cup a day). Comparing can work in a number of ways. Take Steve Job, in ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers his famous launch of the Macbook Air didn’t go on about the slimness of the laptop in millimetres. Instead, all he said that it was so thin, it fits into one of those brown envelops you see floating around the office. Then, he took out a brown envelop and showed how the laptop fits inside.. Putting numbers into context: is another useful tool, e.g. if dealing with the financial impact of a project change request, set it into context of the overall cost, or the total numbers of change requests, depending on the point you want to make.
  • 43. | 43 Language matters A quick word on language: A powerful way of engaging your audience is to use Language Of The Senses. That means telling the audience what you or the character in your story hears, sees, smells, feels, senses and thinks. When you trigger a sense, you bring you audience with you. The most powerful stories appeal to at least 2 senses. Try this example: The extraordinary project board meeting was well attended, even though the torrential rain drumming against the window had caused a few delays. Bob, the senior programme manager checked his papers, the papers rustling as he shuffled his notes. The room was unusually quiet – none of the normal small talk and banter over last night’s football results. Bob could sense the tension in his fellow board members and he was glad he had spent the extra time preparing for this presentation… ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers ‘LANGUAGE OF THE SENSES
  • 44. Storytelling Narrative Story structure Storyboarding content and layout Telling your story ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 45. | 45 Giving your message some structure makes it memorable Translating this to business reports means we need to provide context (aka the beginning of the story), enable discovery (the middle) and provide some conclusion (the end). Although structures in business reports contain different elements compared to story structures in creative industries, they are important none the less. Establishing structure and flow in data stories makes sure:  You actually get your message across,  The sequence of information makes sense and supports your message  You present the right level of complexity and detail at the right time  Ensures you present all of the relevant information and no more Don’t bury your message: Make sure you highlight your key point at the front of your story, e.g. in the headline or graph title Beginning End ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 46. | 46 A beginning, A middle, and An end The most basic story structure is familiar to us all. It consists of a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning (context) To allow readers of a report to grasp its full meaning and insights, they need to have a point of reference. That reference is the context in which reported events took place or the assumptions on which forecasts are based. The context could be actual performance vs plan, this period’s performance vs prior ones, explaining what events led to the current situation or any other relevant background information. The middle (discovery) To make your message compelling, make the middle about discovery. Explain a conflict, the hurdles that had to be overcome and potentially the wrong turns that were taken in arriving at the real proposed solution and call to action. Mixing graphical representation with narrative enables you to convey your message while still allowing your audience their own journey of discovery. This is particularly powerful in interactive settings but as our example shows, can be done with conventional reports, too. The end (conclusion) Many business reports leave the reader with the question “so what?”. To achieve their full purpose, effective Data Storytelling must go beyond simple display of data but answer the so-what-question. This means including a conclusion, recommendation, forecast or next step suggestions. Yes, it means you have to have an opinion and a message – and as we have seen earlier, those aspects differentiate you from a trained monkey. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 47. Storytelling Narrative Story structure Storyboarding content and layout Telling your story ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 48. | 48 Visual outlines via Storyboarding A Storyboard is simply the visual layout of how you are going to tell your story.. Storyboards are valuable for four reasons:  Storyboards force you to assimilate your information, thus causing you to clarify the logic of your hypothesis and supporting assertions  Storyboards help you to focus the analysis  A storyboard can identify gaps in your analysis  Storyboards prevent work that is unnecessary or redundant (story creep) Storyboarding for Data Stories in business reports relates two aspects: the structure and flow of each story content in the report and the layout of the pages of the report:. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 49. | 49 Five simple steps to content storyboards: 1. For each individual story, write the core message that you wish to convey on one post-it. 2. Then write down all the supporting points and other relevant information you wish to include in your story on further post-its. 3. Start physically arranging your post-its to give your story structure, checking back that it makes logical sense to an uninitiated reader. There is no one right way – use one that makes sense to you and your material 4. Remove any superfluous information – does the story still make sense? 5. Check back: is your message clear and concise? The quickest and most useful way to storyboard is to go back to pen and paper. Post-its are invaluable here, though some people prefer to write on a whiteboard. Central message Supporting point Supporting point Supporting point Core message Supporting point Supporting point Supporting point Conclusion Two examples of content Storyboards ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 50. | 50 Creating effective layouts Storyboarding layout and format of the page helps avoiding common mistakes: Mistake #1 Placing information in places that don’t fit its importance or does not support its use Research shows that not all parts of a page, whether printed or on-screen are equal when it comes to drawing attention and being perceived as important. With this in mind, it is important to maximise on your page real-estate. Emphasised Neutral Neutral De-emphasised This means you don’t want to put less important information in the top left hand quadrant, like a company logo or a legend. Keep them for the bottom right. The arrows indicate the emphasis with which most people first scan down a page, then across if the page contains written as well as other visual elements. It’s a legacy of webpage design that has permeated other media. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 51. | 51 Creating effective layouts Mistake #2 Including items that serve no useful purpose As per visual communication guideline #1, only include elements that are relevant. Storyboarding your page layout will help you identifying those that are not. Mistake #3 Separating content excessively How often have you found yourself reading a report where important information was spread over several pages (or separated visually on one page), making comparisons difficult? Storyboarding your layout lets you plan how to keep related information together. Mistake #4 Failing to visually link contents and other items that are related Even the best plans fail and sometimes you cannot keep all the relevant information in one place. In that case, you can help the reader by providing other clues, such as using common colours or shapes. Storyboarding lets you identify where this is necessary Mistake #5 Visually suggesting links between contents that are not related This is the flip side of the point above: make sure you don’t visually link those items which are discrete from another. ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 52. Storytelling Narrative Story structure Storyboarding content and layout Telling your story ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 53. | 53 Telling a story with just one graph Background: use text to explain the context and the problem you are exploring CHART TITLE: PRESENT YOUR STORY HEADLINE Legend 30 Axis title 25 20 15 10 5 Details: Data source and parameters Method Assumptions 22 Insights: give more detail on your headlines, summarise your findings, explain your interpretations and predidictions, help the reader to interprete your visualisation and understand the message. Recommendations: use text with pre-attentive attributes to highlight your message 0 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Axis title call-outs are great to highlight trends or important points ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 54. | 54 Telling a story with multiple graphs This visualisation appeared in the NY Times, 5 Dec 2009. It covered issues around emissions and other factors of climate change in preparation for the Copenhagen climate conference (7/12 – 18/12/2009). Although the original is an interactive web-based visualisation, these slides show how simple graphs can tell an intriguing story even in static form. Copenhagen: Emissions, Treaties and Impacts ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 55. | 55 Telling a story with multiple graphs Please note, the original visualisation contains a wealth of additional data, information and messages which have not been reproduced here for brevity’s sake. You can find the original at: Copenhagen: Emissions, Treaties and Impacts ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 56. | 56 Appendix Six flaws in the graph: 1. The value axis does not start at zero 2. Using uneven time periods 3. 3D effect 4. Excessive use of $-sign 5. X-axis description is not helpful 6. No core message / key point End Notes: 1 Karen Dietz, Lori Silverman: Business Storytelling for Dummies, 2013, p.17 2 Michael Sandberg, Data Viz blog, datavizblog.com, 2013/05/26/ 3 Colin Ware: Information Visualization: Perception for Design (Interactive Technologies), 2004, p36 ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 57. | 57 Resources and credits Acknowledgement: The work in this booklet is influenced by many sources, with especial acknowledgement for the learnings from the following: Edward Tufte: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2001 Stephen Few: Information Dashboard Design, 2013 Stephen Few: Now you see it, 2009 Colin Ware: Information Visualization: Perception for Design (Interactive Technologies), 2004 Karen Dietz, Lori Silverman: Business Storytelling for Dummies, 2013 Geni Whitehouse: How to make a boring subject interesting, 2009 Garr Reynolds: Presentation Zen Design, 2010 Randall Bolten: Painting with Numbers, 2012 Nancy Duarte: Resonate, Present visual stories that transform audiences, 2013 Icons & Images Cave Painting by Luke Anthony Firth from The Noun Project Other icons: The Noun Project (www.nounproject.com) under creative comments licence or the author’s own Bev Doolittle, The forest has eyes, 1985 Copenhagen, Emissions, Treaties and Impacts: NY Times, 5 Dec 2009 Pie charts and Facebook graph: Flickr, under creative commons licence ©Miriam Gilbert Storytelling with Numbers
  • 58. CONNECT AND SHARE: Email me for more information Connect on LinkedIn Connect on Twitter Storytelling with Numbers

Editor's Notes

  1. In business settings, the best stories are those that focus on real people. Yes, even a presentation or report with lots of facts and data is still about real people. Take the example of an innovative residential construction project and you are reporting on a feasibility study. That project relates to people: those who are going to live there, those how are going to be neighbours, the development and construction teams, stakeholders in the community and so on. Depending on the most important point you want to make, you can pick any of these people and create a persona around them – give them a name, opinions and tell the STORY of how their lives will be impacted. Maybe select “a day in the life of the construction worker or future tenant
  2. In business settings, the best stories are those that focus on real people. Yes, even a presentation or report with lots of facts and data is still about real people. Take the example of an innovative residential construction project and you are reporting on a feasibility study. That project relates to people: those who are going to live there, those how are going to be neighbours, the development and construction teams, stakeholders in the community and so on. Depending on the most important point you want to make, you can pick any of these people and create a persona around them – give them a name, opinions and tell the STORY of how their lives will be impacted. Maybe select “a day in the life of the construction worker or future tenant