Designing Visual Appendices for Your Next Report—In Under an Hour

Nov 10th, 2020 / Data Visualization
A couple years ago, I worked on a report that summarized survey responses from both universities and their students. Even with hundreds of survey responses and dozens of survey questions, we kept the report’s body to just six pages! How’d we choose which findings to include in the report’s main body?! That can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s much easier to pare down our report’s content when we’ve got appendices to back us up. I’ll walk you through what can – and should- be put into appendices and introduce you to the better version… visual appendices.
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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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Customizing Reports for the Audience with Deven Wisner

Oct 13th, 2020 / Data Visualization
When we should follow APA format? When should we not? Earlier this year I sat down with my good friend Deven Wisner about customizing reports for the audience. During this six-minute conversation, we talked about Deven’s current work (he’s a managing partner, professor and student himself!) as well as the advice he gives to his own students.
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How to Design Reports that Actually Inform Decisions

Aug 18th, 2020 / Data Visualization
When you hear the term “Dusty Shelf Report,” what comes to mind? Even if you haven’t heard that term before, you’ve seen one. Maybe you’ve received one. Maybe you’re written one (or, dozens). It’s the document we pour our blood, sweat, and tears into… that doesn’t affect anything. No real-world changes. No improvements to policies, programs, budgeting, or staffing decisions. I was trained to write technical reports with statistical jargon that sat around and gathered dust. Now, I write reports that people actually want to read. Fewer paragraphs. More graphs. My audience can understand the information, so the data actually gets used. Our brand new full-length course, Report Redesign is open for registration until Friday, August 21st.
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