Re-envisioning a University’s Monthly Report: Two Reports with Two Different Purposes

Oct 20th, 2020 / Dashboards
“How can I show my audience that 24,000 is a big number??” an evaluator asked me. She’s right; this is challenging. A single number on its own doesn’t tell us anything. Have you heard those (un)professional recommendations like, “Just type the 24,000 in large font so it grabs attention!” or “Add an icon next to the 24,000 to bring it to life!” Sigh. Want to bring numbers to life? We need to compare numbers to something. Here are two suggestions.
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Can Your Dataviz Have an Influence on School Reopening Plans?

Our organizations collect all this data—through surveys, assessments, interviews, and so on—and then what? The default: The data just sits there inside a Dusty Shelf Report. But what if your data could actually inform real-life decisions? I recently sat down with Vivian Jefferson from Loudoun County Public Schools, a growing district in the Washington, D.C. metro area who shared that her graphs had been featured on the news (!!!).
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When to Use Horizontal Bar Charts vs. Vertical Column Charts

Jan 31st, 2017 / Data Visualization
The vertical-column-chart-or-horizontal-bar-chart question is one of the most common questions I receive about bar charts. It depends on what type of variable you’re graphing. If you took a research methods or statistics class back in college, then you might remember learning about terms like nominal, ordinal, interval, or ratio variables. Some of these variables are better suited to vertical column charts while other variables are better suited to horizontal bar charts. Let’s look at a few examples.
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