Dashboard Week Day 1: The Drone Databook

by Andy Kriebel

Like pretty much everyone else in the World, we’ve been in lockdown/hibernation for a month. DS19 has been fantastic throughout, even crushing two client projects. And now it’s Dashboard Week What and I’m feeling proud of them, so it won’t be awful. I never really want it to be awful, it just turns out that way sometimes. I’m fairly sure this week will be kind.

There is going to be a different “focus” for each day, things like analysis, design, insights, etc. The data prep should be fairly simple (I had a look ahead) and this will help them focus more on the aesthetics and analysis. I want them finding insights in the data and learning to explore the “why” in the data.

The basic idea for Dashboard Week is that the team is given a data source, they prep the data, they do analysis, create a visualization, and write a blog post.

Here are the rules that are common across each day, with a few changes to accommodate DS19:

  1. They SHOULD work independently. They’ll be on Zoom all day with each other, so if they get stuck, it’s ok to ask for help (as it always is).
  2. CHANGE 1: Everything MUST be done by 3:30pm.
  3. CHANGE 2: Presentations will be at 3:30pm each day.
  4. CHANGE 3: While I would highly recommend they blog about their process, given that they are presenting at 3:30 each day, this is now optional.

For day 1, the team will be analyzing data about drones from The Center for the Study of the Drone. The data is available on a Google Map and it’s easy to download.

The focus today is on analysis and insight; a great design gets bonus points. I’ve encouraged them to treat this as if it were a typical Friday project they are given. DON’T use ALL of the data. Think about the questions you’d like to answer first. Basically work backwards, from the dashboard to the data. Once it comes to looking at the data investigate the data by asking: when, where, what, how, then why. I’ve found this to be a super effective process, but they are welcome to use whatever technique works for them. If their original question cannot be answered with that data available, they won’t have wasted much time and can start again.

Good luck team!

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