Numbers: Would you work 7 weeks for free to prevent a depression?
Jul 28, 2014 at 9:59pm
As someone who has sat through too many engineering presentations, I know firsthand how hard it is to effectively communicate with numbers. The wrong approach causes the audience to tune out or even push back. Yet with some practice, numbers can be used to add credibility, unexpectedness, and even emotion to our communication. In this module you will review and practice strategies for effective data analysis and presentation.
“A car’s fuel gauge is far less significant, environmentally speaking, than its odometer.” – Green Metropolis
“A charlatan can tell a lie in one sentence that a scientist needs 3 paragraphs to rebut.” - John Holdren
Give the viewer the greatest number of ideas, in the shortest amount of time, with the least ink, in the smallest space. Above all else, show the data. Maximize the data-ink ratio (ink to show data divided by the total ink in graphic).
Words spelled out, elaborate encoding avoided
Abbreviations abound, requiring reader to sort through text to decode
Words read left to right
Words run vertically on y-access, words run in different directions
Little messages help explain data
Graphic requires repeated reference to scattered text
Avoid elaborate cross-hatching, shading, colors. Labels placed on graphic itself, no legend required
Obscure codings require going back and forth between legend and graphic
Graphic attracts viewer, provokes curiosity
Graphic filled with Chartjunk - repellant
If color is used, use blue (can be distinguished by most)
Make sure that your visual materials satisfy the basics of Tufte's approach. Also, see if you can think of any ways to improve your visuals based on the two videos you watched. You don't need to turn anything in at this point - you will be evaluated on these areas for your written materials and video presentation.