Throwback Thursday: "The Grid"

by Elena Caric

In the first week of The Data School I heard of a great tip that I believe deserves a post of its own. Caroline Beavon showed us a great trick to help crystallise our ideas and pick the best one before we start working on our viz. Essentially, it’s a blank piece of paper divided in 4 or more squares. In each square, you can put one idea you have and by the time the paper is full you will already know which ideas you’d like to proceed with.

“The Grid” can be anything, in all honesty, it doesn’t have to be one big piece of paper. I can easily imagine the same method working perfectly with post-it notes that can be arranged together on a table or even plain notepad pages ripper, filled in and arranged one next to each other.

I’ve tried this technique before and it really does help think a bit more about an idea as you are forced to draw it. Sometimes even half way through the sketch I realise that something wouldn’t work and its best to drop the idea.

Now imagine having to drop an idea after you spent some time working on Tableau or any other software, just to realise you have wasted time and you need to figure something else out.

I recommend anyone to try this out whenever in need to choose how to visualise something, how to design a dashboard layout etc.