1 Comment

  • Tyler says:

    I always love reading these. Thanks for sharing those insights and what you have cooking for 2024.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Looking Ahead to 2024: What’s Coming to Depict Data Studio 

    Updated on: Jan 29th, 2024

    Wondering what I’ve got planned this year? 

    Here’s what’s in store for 2024 related to: 

    • Online Courses, 
    • Private Training, 
    • Conference Keynotes, and 
    • My Personal and Professional Goals. 

    Online Courses 

    The biggest improvement for 2024 is that all 6 courses will be offered LIVE (!!!).

    We’ll meet over Zoom on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon from 1 – 4:30 pm Eastern each day. We’ll have 10 minute breaks every hour, and the last 30 minutes is reserved for extra Q&A time.

    Classes are highly interactive. I’ll teach a skill for ~10 minutes, and then you’ll immediately apply it. I’ll teach, you’ll immediately practice, and so on. Within our four half-days, you’ll spend 25% of the time listening and 75% of the time doing. No more pressure to find time in your already-packed schedule for implementation.

    Yes, sessions are recorded and immediately uploaded and captioned in case you can’t make it live. You’ll get lifetime access to the latest recordings.

    Why?? The #1 roadblock is that participants don’t have time for recorded courses. Something always comes up. A rescheduled meeting. A shifting deadline. With live classes, you’ll simply show up, learn, and implement.

    And, selfishly, offering live classes means personal satisfaction; i.e., I know that the latest and greatest version of the course is available. I spend weeks every year re-recording, re-editing, re-uploading, re-making handouts, re-writing ebooks, and re-creating templates. It’s a logistical nightmare to keep online courses up to date! I block off a day for recording, and then a client deadline shifts. I block off another day for recording, and then another deadline shifts. And so on. In 2023, for example, I re-recorded a 1-hour module in January… but didn’t edit and upload those videos until November! Eek. It was weighing on my mind all year. Never again.

    By offering all 6 courses live, participants will get the best learning experience. And I’ll get the personal satisfaction that all 6 of my courses have been fully upgraded this year.


    • Simple Spreadsheets, our data analysis course: March 4 – 7, 2024 from 1 – 4:30 pm Eastern each day. Register here by March 1.
    • Great Graphs, our software-agnostic dataviz course: April 15 – 18, 2024 from 1 – 4:30 pm Eastern each day. Register here by April 12.
    • Great Graphs in Excel, our Excel-specific dataviz course: May 13 – 16, 2024 from 1 – 4:30 pm Eastern each day. Register here by May 10.
    • Report Redesign, our deep dive on creating reports that people actually read: October 7 – 10, 2024 from 1 – 4:30 pm Eastern each day. Register here by October 4.
    • Powerful Presentations, our public speaking and slide design course: November 4 – 7 , 2024 from 1 – 4:30 pm Eastern each day. Register here by November 1.
    • Dashboard Design, our deep dive on building static and interactive dashboards: December 9 – 12, 2024 from 1 – 4:30 pm Eastern each day. Register here by December 6.


    Registration is $997/participant for 2024, which includes the 4 half-day classes AND lifetime access to the recordings AND supplemental materials like handouts and ebooks AND Office Hours for the entire calendar year.

    No price increases for the fourth year in a row.

    We also have group rates available. Group rates for online courses will always be more cost-effective than a private training.

    Private Training 

    Want to bring me in to speak to your team? 

    Each year, I lead ~200 private sessions for foundations, nonprofits, universities, and government agencies who work on social good issues. 

    Here’s more info about my workshops, which can be held virtually or in-person. 

    Package 1: Private Training

    What’s included:

    • Live Training for up to 25 Staff. You’ll get live, custom training for up to 25 people. (Yes, we have per-person rates for events with more than 25 attendees.) The most popular option is 1 day on-site, or 2 half-days virtually. For example, we might meet from 9 – 5 in your conference room. Or, we might meet from 12:30 – 4:30 virtually for two days in a row (e.g., a Tuesday-Wednesday).
    • 6 Classes to Choose From. I have 6 full-length topics to choose from (e.g., dataviz best practices, or dashboards, or reports, or Excel how-to’s). We’ll work together to choose one class that’s best for your team.
    • Review of 5-10 Sample Materials. Seeing your staff members’ real projects will help me customize the agenda for their exact needs.
    • Customized Agenda. After I review your sample materials, I’ll customize the agenda to fit your team’s current skill level. For example, we might skip over beginner-level topics and move right into advanced techniques. We’ll cover your Wish List topics, too. In the past, groups have opted to cover qualitative dataviz, maps, before-after graphs, and longitudinal data.
    • Zoom Set-Up and Hosting. If we’re meeting virtually, I’ll handle the behind-the-scenes Zoom setup so you don’t have to worry about it. You’ll send your staff a link to RSVP for the sessions. I’ll set everything up on my own account. I’ll host the trainings so you can take it off your to-do list. You’ll receive weekly registration updates so we can monitor how many people have RSVP’d. I can also send you Zoom attendance reports afterwards so you can see exactly who attended, and for how long.
    • Recordings for 1 Full Year. YES, we can record everything! YES, for virtual and in-person events! Recordings are helpful because: scheduling conflicts are inevitable; staff get stressed that they might forget something; and new staff can watch the recordings as part of their onboarding process. You’ll get access to your password-protected site for an entire year.
    • Materials. Worried you won’t remember everything? You’ll get the PDF’d slides of everything we cover. Your staff will love the side-by-side examples showing them exactly how to fix common graphical mistakes. Depending on which class we choose, you’ll also get handouts, checklists, ebooks, and graph templates.
    • Recommended Resources. Don’t want to lose time googling for the best resources? You’ll get my curated resource list with my favorite books, blogs, podcasts, and software tools.
    • Certificates of Completion. Want to build your portfolio as part of your annual review process? You’ll get personalized Certificates of Completion after our private training.
    • Satisfaction Surveys. I’m sure you can handle this on your own, but I’ll take care of the satisfaction surveys to save you time. You’ll get a copy of the results to help with future planning.
    • Email Recaps. I’ll also send emails before and after the sessions to keep the conversations going.
    • Alumni-Only Community. Everyone will be invited to our students-only LinkedIn group, where you can network, post drafts, and get feedback from others.
    • Swag. For in-person workshops, I’ll bring plenty of stickers, magnets, pins, and buttons.

    Package 2: Private Training + Longer-Term Support

    Want to make sure your staff are supported for the long-run, so they can apply everything they’ve
    learned to your projects?

    I’ll provide consulting, weekly technical assistance sessions, and style guide and accessibility support.

    You’ll get everything from Package 1: Private Training and:

    • 5 Hours of Follow-Up Zoom Support. Have questions after the private workshop? Don’t want to post your drafts in the LinkedIn group? You’ll get 5 hours of follow-up consulting – via email or Zoom, your choice. For example, you can email me with quick questions and pick my brain. Or, we can hop on Zoom, share screens, and troubleshoot together. You can use your follow-up consulting anytime within 12 months of the workshop.
    • 3 Before-After Makeovers. Want to see exactly how these principles can be applied to your own data? I’ll create 3 quick makeovers of your work. For example, I’ll transform a text-heavy slide or revamp a page of your report.
    • Lifetime Course Access. All 25 staff will get lifetime access to my online course, which goes broader and deeper than our training together. For example, if you choose the Simple Spreadsheets class for our live training, then your staff will also get access to the Simple Spreadsheets online course (!). Your private training is 8 hours of highlights… but the online course has dozens more tutorials and gets updated regularly. Your staff will have lifetime access to the latest and greatest lessons.
    • Makeovers. We’ll create 3 quick makeovers of your work. For example, we’ll transform your report’s cover, revamp a text-heavy slide, etc.
    • Accessibility Audits. Are you required to make 508-accessible graphics? We’ll meet for 60 minutes over Zoom and review one of your publications, slideshows, or dashboards. I’ll use a fine-toothed comb to check for “Big A Accessibility” (legal 508/ADA requirements) and “little a accessibility”(making sure it’s easy to understand). You’ll leave with a detailed to-do list of edits from my Dataviz Accessibility Checklist.
    • Data Visualization Style Guides. Even your intern can make great graphs—if they’re using branded, accessible, intuitive templates as their foundation. In our first 90-minute session, I’ll review your existing branding materials, like style guides, colors, fonts, photographs, and/or icons. We’ll go through my Checklist for Dataviz Style Guides so you know exactly how to improve your resources in the future. Then, I’ll create a Data Visualization Style Guide and Chart Templates for you. In our second 90-minute session, we’ll walk through your Guide and Templates together.
    • Office Hours for 1 Year. All 25 staff will be invited to weekly Q&A sessions—for an entire year! These are “consulting lite” sessions where I’ll review your draft dashboards, reports, and slides. You’ll get a list of: What you’re already doing well; Quick Wins that you can tackle with ~15 minutes of editing; and Not-So-Quick Wins to keep in mind for your future projects.

    Want to learn more about private training? Book a call.

    Conference Keynotes

    I’m looking forward to providing keynote speeches, pre-conference workshops, and breakout sessions at a variety of in-person and virtual conferences this year.

    Want to learn more about conference keynotes? Book a call.

    Personal Goals 

    I’m going to continue working the K12 school calendar. When my kids are home from school, the Depict Data Studio office is closed. No courses or private trainings over spring break, summer break, Thanksgiving, winter holidays, etc.

    We might be moving in a month or two (just down the street in the greater Orlando area – with a bit more room). The paperwork should be finalized today, fingers crossed! We bought our current house when we had 2 kids. Now we have 5. So.

    I’m still obsessed with edible gardening. At our current house, we’ve got papayas, bananas, avocados, lemons, oranges, guavas, cherries, figs, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, grapes, and pineapples. If/when we move, I’ll start anew in that backyard.

    I might start bicycling again, TBD. Pre-kids, I’d ride 50-80 miles every weekend, plus commuting to/from work on nice days. I signed up for a 50-mile ride in February. But it’s January 29 and I haven’t even pumped up my tires yet, let alone started training, so. When the twins are 6 months old, they can safely ride in the bike trailer. That’s when I can realistically start riding again. They’re only 4 months old, so it’s a bit soon.

    In the meantime, I’m still using my walking pad while I work. Most days, I can easily walk ~10 miles during the workday. Walk an hour, stand still for a Zoom, walk an hour, grab some lunch, walk an hour, stand still for a meeting, etc. I even walked a marathon a few weeks ago! My goal is to walk 2,000 miles on the walking pad in 2024 (10 miles per work day x 20 work days a month x 10 working months).

    Professional Goals

    I’m going to focus on blogging again this year. Little to no YouTubing, podcasting, guest lectures in universities, free talks, etc. My time’s limited, and blogging is the most efficient one to many structure.

    In past years, my goal has ranged from 24-36 new blog posts (2-3 new articles every month). This year, I’ll focus on revamping the existing blog posts rather than publishing brand new posts. I started 2024 with ~330 posts. I already deleted ~30 blog posts that were no longer relevant. I’ll revamp existing posts by adding new photos, new examples, and new screenshots.

    (“Ann, WHY are you deleting precious blog posts?? What if someone needs those tips??” No, they don’t. Internet clutter makes it harder for everyone to find what they need. Less is more.)

    I’m also taking a year-long break from social media, sort of. I realized that I’ve been on Facebook for 20 years, since it came out in 2004 (!). And, I used AOL Instant Messenger and chat rooms before that. My entire adolescence and adulthood has been online. In December 2023, I deactivated Facebook; I no longer log into Instagram or Twitter; and I stopped scrolling through TikTok. I still use LinkedIn here and there for work. The instant result: My attention span is instantly improved, and I’m loving long-form content again. My brain prefers movies over short clips; my brain prefers books over online articles; and my brain prefers audiobooks and podcasts over soundbites. Social media isn’t black and white. I wish it was! There are pros and cons to being connected with online communities. For example, I love seeing photos of my cousins’ children. But I don’t need to see photos of other peoples’ beautiful kitchens and living rooms and vacations that I just get jealous of. Hence the year-long experiment: to see whether social media is actually a net positive for me and society. A month into my experiment… I’m pretty sure it’s not.

    I’m continuing to focus on building my own Excel skills. I’ll be speaking at and attending the Excel Sum(it) in a couple weeks. I’ll likely find some online or in-person workshops to attend, too. I’d rather have elite skills in a single software program than mediocre skills in a handful of programs.

    Administrative & Logistical Tasks

    I hesitated to mention these, since they’re so boring.

    Are you interested in behind-the-scenes details??

    If so, here’s what’s also on my radar:

    • Lean staffing. I tried virtual assistants a few years ago. I tried subcontracting projects to colleagues a few years before that. I’m happily continuing as a one-woman company. It’s not that I don’t need help; I don’t need help with work. Thanks to Zapier, ConvertKit, and Teachable, I’ve automated nearly everything behind the scenes. And, we’ve got the pool company, landscapers, babysitters, preschool, a stay-at-home husband, etc. to help on the household side. The popular business advice is to hire, hire, hire. More staff usually means higher gross income, but not higher net income. What’s the point of complicating anything? Simple is best.
    • Accounting. I’ve upgraded accountants and software over the years. I’ve switched from a sole proprietor to LLC to S Corp. There’s nothing left to fine-tune.
    • Website. I did a website revamp in 2022. I’ll probably do another one in 2025. Websites are usually an every-3-year thing in my world, with minor tweaks in between that.
    • Newsletters. I’ll continue sending newsletters ~weekly throughout the year; scrubbing the list; A/B testing the subject lines; and keeping the open rate and click-through rates high.
    • Digital resources. I’ll continue posting digital resources, like ebooks and chart templates, on Gumroad.
    • Hiring my kids. I’ve been working with my accountant to start legally and ethically hiring my 8-year-old. We’re putting her on payroll; she’ll put 100% of her earnings into a Roth IRA; and we’ll likely write blog posts and submit conference sessions together. The theme will be something like “how to make graphs so accessible that even an 8-year-old can understand them.”

    Your Turn 

    What are you focused on in 2024?  

    Are you hoping to learn a new software program? Achieve a personal goal?  

    Comment anytime and let me know! 

    More about Ann K. Emery
    Ann K. Emery is a sought-after speaker who is determined to get your data out of spreadsheets and into stakeholders’ hands. Each year, she leads more than 100 workshops, webinars, and keynotes for thousands of people around the globe. Her design consultancy also overhauls graphs, publications, and slideshows with the goal of making technical information easier to understand for non-technical audiences.

    1 Comment

  • Tyler says:

    I always love reading these. Thanks for sharing those insights and what you have cooking for 2024.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You Might Like

    Our complimentary mini course for beginners to dataviz. Takes 45 minutes to complete.


    How to Write Dynamic Takeaway Sentences inside Interactive Excel Dashboards

    I’m a big fan of takeaway text: for reports, for presentations, and even for interactive dashboards. Sometimes people think that takeaway text isn’t possible for dynamic dashboards in Excel. They worry that they’ll have to write each sentence by hand. False! In this video, you’ll learn about two ingredients: You can write takeaway sentences about: … more »

    More »

    #f-post-el-35{display:none !important}

    #f-post-el-35{display:none !important}



    Not another fluffy newsletter. Get actionable tips, videos and strategies from Ann in your inbox.