I’ve been using the phrase “think it through” a lot in conversations with my manager recently. All of us are working through business questions and some of these questions are more complex than they appear on the surface. As an analyst, I need to set aside time to think through my work approach and also my work product approach. How am I going to communicate the information I find in a way that’s easy for everyone else to understand?
In the past year I’ve been sketching more and more and I’ve been reading more articles that seem to emphasize this low-tech approach to organizing your thoughts before starting to compile a work product. Makes sense to me.
Here’s a slide deck from Mico Yuk from this year’s PASS Business Analytics Conference discussing storyboarding.
In all honesty, I’ve been looking for a “how-to” storyboard guide for my own use for a while now and haven’t found one. In my quest to advance my skills I start with a measurement that I’ve been asked to communicate: the headline. Then I start asking myself questions about that measurement. The kind of questions I would expect other people to be curious about — the kind of questions I’m curious about myself. Then I conduct more analyses to get the answers and incorporate them in the same space, supporting the headline, using visual, easy-to-understand icons whenever possible.
Paper and pen is my best friend for sketching out the order in which the reader will see and digest information.
My journey toward data visualization enlightenment is still in progress, but with a little help from the experts and friends like you, I keep moving forward. Please share your data viz success story with me if you would!