Telling a story? First be clear on your message.

I attended my nephew’s baby naming a few weeks ago.  How do you name your visuals?

With all the advancements in creating visuals, there has been almost zero progress in how people title those visuals. Is “Trends for 6 months” really adding value? That should be obvious from the visual!

This problem ties back to being data-driven —  focused on the data, instead of decision-driven — focused on the intent. Also, there is no framework to build on, so let me propose the following. If we want to talk about how our data should tell a story, then we should structure our visuals similar to a story. Simple enough. Here’s roughly how that concept plays out:

  • Story = your entire set of dashboards
  • Chapters = each dashboard
  • Paragraphs = each visual on the dashboard
  • Sentences = the visual choice/ style
  • Word = data on the visual
  • Punctuation = formatting for clarity

So, in terms of managing titles, I’m talking about Story, Chapters, and Paragraphs. Use these 10 ideas to rethink your next set of work:

  1. What story am I telling and why?
  2. What question does this answer?
  3. What decision are we trying to make?
  4. Where is this in the story?
  5. What is the main idea to communicate?
  6. Is this fact, fiction, sci-fi, horror, etc…?
  7. Who are the main characters?
  8. Who are the heroes and villains?
  9. What action do I want someone to take?
  10. How do I want to make someone feel?

Just like we learned way back in grade school, create the story outline before writing. That means you need to know the titles before making the visuals, not afterwards. Be clear on what you want to communicate, then it’s much easier to pick the appropriate visual and include the correct data.

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Posted in Big Data, Dashboard, Decision Making, Decision-Driven, Prototyping, Tableau Software, Visualization

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