Join Bill Shander for an in-depth discussion in this video Introduction, part of Data Visualization, Storytelling, and Information Design: A Lesson and Listen Series.
- Hi, welcome to my series on data storytelling. I'm Bill Shander. I'm an information designer, and data storytelling, and visualization expert. I think about data storytelling all day long and I teach data storytelling and visualization. I host in-person workshops for the public as well as for organizations around the world. I love this topic and I'm passionate about sharing it with you. This show is a recurring series about data storytelling and visualization from a variety of perspectives. Each episode will be focused on a theme and throughout the show, we'll be covering that theme from a couple of different angles.
Each episode is gonna be broken into two segments. First, I'll teach a short and simple data storytelling or visualization lesson that relates directly to the theme. Then, I'll interview a guest to have a conversation about the theme. For example, episode one's theme is data storytelling and visualization for regular folks. By that, I mean people who don't think their primary job is working with or reading data. I'll be interviewing data visualization expert, Neil Halloran, during the second part of this episode.
So what do I mean by regular folks? I'm talking about the general public, or in a business context, those groups who don't think of themselves as data experts which is really most everyone in a business context. I say this because while data and KPIs are driving what most people are doing in their organizations, people don't generally feel all that confident in their ability to analyze, visualize, or communicate with data. I think that data literacy is something that needs to improve universally.
We are swimming in data and yet we live in a world where people are easily duped by bad data, misrepresented data, data that's cherry-picked or out of context, data that's poorly presented. People make decisions that affect their every day lives and the health of their organizations that are driven by data in ways they may not understand. What's more, that data is difficult to parse or is intentionally misleading sometimes. We live in a world where alternative facts and fake news are hard to distinguish from reality.
So the more everyone can understand how to interpret data they come across, the better off we'll all be. Of course, this also means that those who are communicating with data better be doing a good job of it. Now we can't regulate away dishonest data communications, but good intentioned, honest brokers of information can learn to do a better job of data storytelling. Right now, the data visualization community is driven in large part by academics and technicians who focus on the nitty gritty of data communications for experts like themselves.
That's not to say that there isn't amazing work being done for regular folks. But the community is too focused on speaking to itself. Many conferences, books, Twitter conversations, podcasts, they're centered around an inner focus and largely at data visualization engineers, designers, and researchers. Meanwhile, there are organizations and individuals creating mind-blowingly amazing work for the public to consume. Think The New York Times, FiveThirtyEight, Giorgia Lupi, and the like.
But, not enough people are creating content for general audiences that talks about data storytelling and visualization in a way that makes it accessible for them. So they can occasionally admire and learn from great work but they're not presented with enough information to help them do that great work themselves. That's generally been the focus of my courses and workshops and I'm thrilled to be here to share this in a new and interesting way with you.