The one governing idea that Tim tried to convey (see the recap of Ruth Milligan’s presentation from our August event) was that effective data visualization is not about art or creativity nearly as much as it is about neuroscience. Simply reducing the cognitive load we’re placing on our audience is the best way to get them to focus on the data and message we’re trying to convey. Reducing the cognitive load means simplifying the visualization, and then simplifying it some more!
The slides from his session:
Or, if you think Tim’s dynamic delivery of the material would enhance your review, a video of said delivery (with the bonus of the Rev1 poltergeist glitching the slides regularly throughout the presentation):
The books Tim recommended for attendees to learn more were:
- Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina — for learning more about the relevant neuroscience when it comes to how we take in and retain information
- Information Dashboard Design: Displaying Data for At-a-Glance Monitoring by Stephen Few — a mix of neuroscience and tactical tips for effective data visualization
- The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics: The Dos and Don’ts of Presenting Data, Facts, and Figures by Dona M. Wong — a handy reference with specific guidelines for effective data visualization
One of Tim’s tips was about building dashboards using Microsoft Excel (using very narrow columns to provide a somewhat flexible layout grid). He referenced that he had also presented in more detail on this topic, and, based on the overwhelming interest* in that material, we’re going ahead and including one of those presentations in YouTube form below:
* One person asked him about it after the presentation.