#SWDchallenge: visualize variability

Is an average always the best way to summarize data? No! It can be useful to look at the underlying distribution of data and sometimes makes sense to show the variation. This month’s challenge is to visualize the variability in data. There are numerous ways to do so: the recap post this time around should be a good collection of approaches!

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new year, new tools!

We saw a wide variety of tools used in the first challenge of 2019: from the familiar to new players on the market and from drag & drop GUI solutions to programming languages. Read on to see the wide array of instruments available for visualizing data and learn from others as they attempt these tools for the first time.

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accessibility for hearing impaired


Accessibility is something we talk about frequently in the context of data visualization: we should make our visualizations accessible for our audience. For me, this word has a couple meanings. First, I think of accessibility as making things easy on our audience—using a graph that makes sense, taking intentional steps to make it clear where to look, putting words around our visuals both so our audience knows exactly what they are looking at and also to answer the question “so what?”. But there is another level of accessibility: designing for those who have different innate abilities than we do.

Sight is the sense that we tend to associate most with data visualization. It is visual, so this makes sense. Not everyone sees the same, which leads to considerations in how we use color and contrast, for example. Amy Cesal penned a great guest SWD post on this topic last year, outlining 5 ways we can make our data visualizations more visually accessible.

I’m excited to announce some ways that we are making our offerings at storytelling with data more accessible in a totally different way: for those having hearing impairment. We’ll be offering real-time closed captioning at the upcoming Milwaukee public workshop (details & registration). We’ve also been busily transcribing the podcast, both for those for whom it’s easier to read than listen, as well as those who’d simply rather read than listen. Transcripts are currently available for the non-interview podcast episodes:

Transcripts can also be accessed through the podcast page. The remaining episodes are in the transcription queue, so please stay tuned for those.

Consider: how can you make what you do more accessible for your audience?

#SWDchallenge: happy new year! let's try something new

It’s a new year: time to reflect and consider how can we push ourselves out of our comfort zones? I’m an advocate of productive discomfort and trying new things. In this challenge, I encourage you to try a new tool for visualizing data and share your results and related commentary.

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