storytellingwithdata.com gets a makeover

I've had a running debate with myself over the past year regarding whether to completely overhaul my site. I finally decided to do it, moving from my beloved Blogger (you've been great for the past five years!) to Squarespace. I have an affinity for makeovers, so here's a side-by-side of the before and after:

While I love the clean design of my new page (my husband asked, Is there too much white space? To which I responded, You can never have too much white space!), my main impetus for the change was to have the ability to visually organize some featured posts in a way that's easier to navigate than digging through the old site. Check out the new Gallery page, where you can see snippets of makeovers, tips, and popular posts and click on any of the thumbnails to be taken to the full post.

All of the historical blog posts are on this new site. It will take me a bit of time to repair the broken links and clean up some of the funny formatting from the import, but I'll work through that over the coming weeks. I'll also likely to continue to play with the site, testing out new features and content. Expect also to see more frequent posting from me here.

Leave a comment to let me know what you think about the new site. Let me know if there's anything you can't find or any other issues you encounter and I'll get those fixed. Thanks for following!

audience, audience, audience

I sometimes feel a little like a broken record when I talk about communicating with data. My latest oft-repeated word is audience. We must keep our audience in mind throughout the design process and in general, try to make things easy on them. I spent a little time on this topic in a webinar yesterday and thought I'd turn some of my notes into a quick blog post, which is what you'll find here.

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tell your audience what you want them to know

It sounds simple. It sounds obvious. But how often do people give a presentation or send out a report or email without ever making it clear what they want you to know? 

Have you ever looked at a graph and thought, I'm not sure what I'm meant to get out of this? Or sat through a presentation or meeting only to realize once it's over that you're not really sure what you just witnessed?

I listened to a presentation last week where the person speaking put up a busy-looking, data-heavy slide. It wasn't a good slide, but the speaker was clearly comfortable on stage and knowledgable about his topic, so I was motivated to understand what he was trying to communicate. Then he said a few magic words: "what this is meant to show is..." followed by a clearly articulated statement. It is amazing how those simple words can make the intimidating accessible.

The effect these words had on me was to generate more patience on my part (and even a little curiosity) to understand what the slide was showing. The speaker knew what he wanted the audience to get out of it and walked us through the visual in a way that made sense. It still wasn't a fantastic visual - there are changes that could have made it more effective - but his words overcame this shortcoming.

Tell your audience what you want them to know.

It's simple advice, but the impact can be profound!

storytelling with data...scribed!

I was in Dallas earlier this week and had the opportunity to talk about storytelling with data with a few different groups. One of those was the DFW Data Visualization and Infographics Meetup. This afforded me the pleasure of meeting Randy Krum, president and founder of InfoNewt, and John Colaruotolo from Collective Next, who (as far as I'm concerned) is able to create magic with pens and a whiteboard.

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