Hi, I’m Roz Lemieux.I’m a founding partner at Fission Strategy. We work with dozens of nonprofit organizations, including Momsrising and Voices For America’s Children to help them leverage technology and social media for social good.
I’m here today to talk about Data Visualiazation for Advocacy.
Why do we do data visualization?I like this quote… [READ] ----- Meeting Notes (3/1/12 09:14) -----David is the author of Information is Beautiful - the blog and book
Why does good data visualization feel like a “relief” to the viewer? Visualizations are able to point out patterns and connections that matter in a data set… so the data:Makes more senseTells a storyFocus only on the info that really mattersIT’S LESS WORK FOR YOUR BRAIN TO PROCESSBarring all that: just looks really cool
I would add: not just to tell a story, but to make itmemorable.[READ QUOTE]This is a quote from Jeremy Short, a professor who started turning his college textbooks into graphic novels when he saw “a disconnect between the material” [in which the students were genuinely interested] and the textbooks, which were “an instant snoozefest”.
Or, make it personal – especially: localHere’s a great example of a site that let’s you look at just a slice of a very big government data set – the slice that relates to where you live
Okay, that’s all nice, and we’re glad our supporters feel relieved and like we’re talking to them personally…but what’s the ROI? Why spend money on this?Visualizations (good ones) can be GREAT for… Facebook click throughBloggerpick upEmail and Twitter pass-alongAnd a big one: Partnerships– offering production value is a bargaining chip with other organizations to encourage them to share your message and materials
So what are the reasons NOT to do data visualization every time you have a big relevant data set? - passalongdoes not = conversion => and conversion to action is the holy grail of activism so you have to think about how this relates to your advocacy strategy- resource tradeoff = you could just write a simple straightforward call-to-action; send some kids and their parents up to the Hill to complain in person; recruit someone to write an op-ed piece for the NYT… why this?- sometimes, the data doesn't *really* tell a story – or maybe your organization is not willing to tell the story in a compelling way for internal or political reasons OR because it doesn’t quite really tell the story you want to tell – just because you have a dataset doesn’t mean you should visualize it.
So we’re on the same page: here’s what I’m talking about when I say data-visualization:- maps- charts- infographics- Interactive pieces
Let’s take a few minutes to talk about each of these – starting with Maps.
There are lots of different types of maps. ChoroplethCartogramsProportional SymbolPinpointThere’s a great blog post on Visual.ly that lays these out: http://blog.visual.ly/you-are-here-using-maps-in-data-visualization/ -- the link is in the notes of this presentation, which I’ll share with youFor inspiration: Here’s a great example of an election map which typically would be done as a Chloropleth – just coloring in the states based on how they voted. But that fails to paint a critical part of the picture – electoral votes. This map layers in proportional symbols to show at a glance that the New England states and CA, while tiny, are big when it comes to presidential elections, which is the topic of the map.----- Meeting Notes (3/1/12 09:14) -----rem ca
Here’s a great map of famine done by ONE that let’s the user view change over time with a slider. This was done using a tool called MapBox. It’s one of many relatively sophisticated open-source mapping tools available to you.
That said, most organizations we work with just want to show data – often user data – on a Google map.These are SO easy to make!
> Here are some tools you can use to turn your geo-coded data into maps quickly and easily:- http://mapalist.com/ -- this turns any spreadsheet or Google doc with addresses into a pinpoint map with popup boxes- there’s a newer site called topo.ly that does something similargooglespreadsheets + plugin – same thing: got a list? Just use a plugin to turn it into a clickable Google MapGoogle Maps API – great for doing something a little more sophisticated with Google Maps - http://code.google.com/apis/maps/index.htmlOpen Street Map serves a similar purpose, but let’s you zoom in and out more smoothly and is open sourceTileMill & MapBox – great place to start when you want to do something more than a pinpoint map, like that ONE heat map -- http://mapbox.com/tilemill/
A simple chart is great when you have a simple data set and you want to use metaphor to drive home the point – or really visualize the relative size of the items in the data set. This chart represents: median family income based on highest attained education levelI pulled the data from Google Public Data and made it in: Google spreadsheets w. Plugin called “piles of money”.source: - http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=c8op9mhgodplq_&ctype=c&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=s&met_y=median_income_current&fdim_y=country:US&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&idim=educational_attainment:1:2:3:4:6:5:7:9:10:8:11&ifdim=educational_attainment&tunit=Y&pit=1267074000000&icfg Chart: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0As2ob9ZzPTWFdEhtLWdBc2ZWbnB1TFZqU05HLV93dVE
Here are some tools you can use to make great charts:kidscountdata center – I presume you already know this, but the KidsCount data center lets you pop out state-specific charts in about 30 seconds: http://datacenter.kidscount.org/DataBook/Widget.aspxgooglespreadsheets + plugins – browse around, there are many and they’re SO easy to use – don’t need to bug the developers Socrata & Many Eyes – let you upload your own data and make fairly sophisticated charts of out them, pop out the HTML http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/Sources:googlePublic Data Explorer http://www.google.com/publicdata/admin Google Public Data Explorer
Is is possible to go VERY WRONG in creating charts if you use the wrong type for your data…This is a slide from Noah Illinsky’s “Data Vis: You’re Dion’ It Wrong” at the 2011 Strata conference in New Yorkhttp://complexdiagrams.com/2011/12/appearances-at-strata-nyc-2011/ I have time to play the whole thing for you, but go watch it. He has a series of great examples of charts gone wrong. Here is one – at the top – of a visualization of platform usage over time shown as a series of donut graphs. Below is his version – not as fancy looking, but actually draws out the interesting data – because he used the right *type* of chart for a time series.
> If you’re looking for inspiration, go to: http://www.good.is/infographics/ they have hundreds and they’re gorgeous.
Here’s one comparing public to private schools.
You may know, my firm, Fission Strategy, did a whole series for Voices for America’s Children around potential cuts to the budget and how they’d affect kids and the future economy. Here’s one example. The top is future revenue lost and the bottom is expenditures saved.
> tools: Infographicsreally requires a good designer...contest (Design For America) -- http://sunlightlabs.com/contests/designforamerica/ => prizes: not cash – “no spec work” community backlashCrowdspring or 99 DesignsTo hire a good designer, beef up your own knowledge about what it takes to make a great data visualizationThere are several good books and websites (the links to these are in my presentation notes)Beautiful Visualization - http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920000617.do Beautiful Data - http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9780596157128.do Information Is Beautiful - http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/
LOTS of good examples out there. If you have to hire it out, can be a bit pricey because you need someone who understands the data, the story you’re trying to tell, can produce high-quality design, and sophisticated front-end code. So you REALLY have to think about how this fits in your advocacy strategy. For the custom interactive infographics, most of that is done in HTML5/CSS3/JS – a little JS knowledge can go a long way. This example: http://awesome.good.is/transparency/web/1109/lack-of-water/flash.htmlIf you click on the circles, they pop up an explanation of that data point.
Also: http://www.good.is/post/interactive-infographic-trends-in-higher-education/ Here’s an example of a sophisticated interactive infographic…There are layers of data – you start with degree type and drill down to the types of degrees people are gettingThen you can filter by genderThis type of thing is, pricing and complexity wise, similar to building a microsite…
But there are lots of tools out there for doing something a little more quick-and-dirty…> tools:- http://prezi.com/http://devdata.worldbank.org/DataVisualizer/http://thejit.org/demos/ Find more at: http://mashable.com/2007/05/15/16-awesome-data-visualization-tools/
Kidscount: Data Visualization
WHY “If you’re navigating a dense information jungle and you come across a beautiful visualization, it’s like a relief – a clearing in the jungle." -- David McCandless, Ted Global Oxford “The Beauty of Data Visualization”