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Digital Analytics Association Webinar 11-18-15

Thanks for visiting and I look forward to your comments, feedback, and what-have-you!

on Wed, 11/18/2015 - 19:39

Today, I took in a 30 minute webinar hosted by the Digital Analytics Association on Data Visualization.

Lea Pica and David Millrod took questions.

Below are my notes, please note, not direct quotations, my summary and any mistakes are mine, not theirs.

Questions:
 
How do you walk the line between reporting and data storytelling?
Lea: what is the venue in which the data will be presented? Is it the boardroom or a dashboard? Audience, venue, and what ultimately the story is make that determination.
 
Some of the latest developments in data visualization?
David: Everybody kind of starts in Excel. And Excel has made strides in what is available and most don't realize it. Tableau is a tool we use and they continue to make improvements around data discovery. People are also working with D3 (?). Big question, will you have a developer available to you or is it do it yourself. Really sophisticated are R, which is being adopted much more and gaining prominence, but it doesn't lend itself to disseminating information well.
 
What are some good ways to get experience with tools other than Excel?
David: One program that is interesting is Tableau Public, which is public.tableau.com and this is a public place where people can build visualizations off public data and share it with one another by publishing back to public.
Lea: Instead of just publishing a dashboard, people are now pulling out single views of data and annotating with a story. People will get lost in a massive dashboard, use story points and story telling. 
 
Lea discussed some Excel plug-ins that help, but mostly uses Tableau.
 
How useful are programming languages in data visualization?
Lea: I am by no means a programmer, but yes there is a role.
David: It is often hard to have one person to both be able to understand business strategy and programming.
 
Is there a case scenario around data storytelling?
Lea: I came across site search data showing that people were looking for tax forms on our website. We didn't have the forms, nor did our site tell people they weren't available. These were paying customers, which made for a problem. I said here is our customer Bob, he visited, he looked, he couldn't find what he was looking for, he filled out the exit survey indicating his frustration, and he is worth x amount per year and considering switching providers as a result. Here is how we fix his problem.
 
How can I convince people that my presentation shouldn't be shared in advance?
David: You may want to consider two decks, one a preview and the other with more depth.
 
How do you change the way information is presented?
Lea: Here are the key headlines of the presentation and we have great analysis and actionable recommendations we can't wait to share with you.
 
Giving bad news, tips?
David: You have to give bad news in the context of how it can become good news, don't just give bad news.
Lea: don't ever position something as 'bad' news, people will put walls up.
 
Being a data analyst isn't just about being an analyst it includes why and what next?
We try to have a journalistic approach with higher frequency of conversations than once in a while. You want an on-going dialogue feel to build the relationship so your insights are trusted.
 
There is an intense focus on powerpoint, what is most effective to you?
Lea: I developed a process and toolset around Powerpoint. You need to learn to leverage Powerpoint to tell the story. The tools can't tell the story, you have to do that.
David: Need to distinguish between powerpoint as support to a live presentation vs. publishing.
 
Final thoughts:
Lea: How do we change ourselves so we are modeling the behaviors we want our clients to use.
David: It is all about the people not about the technology. Think about your audiences. What are the right ways to communicate with each? We're at the intersection of marketing and analytics. It is not ever one size fits all.