WHAT WE LEARNED SO FAR:
At the end of week 1, we worked with DS14 to create our first presentations. We then watched them deliver their first client presentation. I worked with Tom Prowse who guided me through producing and presenting a viz, and taught me lots of useful techniques and conventions to work quickly and productively.
PLAN : Sketch out what you want to discover.
This was much easier because we asked specific questions early and considered how we might answer those questions. Using post-its on an A4 was very helpful for me because I realised that when the page was full, it was time to stop sit around considering all the possibilities and start moving.
ACT : Make decisions quickly and move forward.
Even if you turn 180, as long as you’re moving, you’re still going forwards. Some of our vizes evolved as we discovered that some answers differed from our expectations, and tried new options.
LESS IS MORE: There is no need to use all of your data just because it’s there.
We are providing answers to questions. Not just providing answers. Tom taught me about to use viz-in-viz for sub-categories, keeping the main dashboard simple and allowing for more optional drilling down into detail if needs be.
PRACTICE: Planning does not equal practice!
Pages of notes will be discarded. The order will change if someone asks a question. The more times you deliver your actual presentation, the sooner you will realise gaps in your steps to reasoning. You will also realise what you’re actually capable of remembering and delivering,
It’s only on your third run-through of rattling through your spiel, that you’ll be relaxed enough to realise that your percentages in your tool-tip don’t make sense. Or that you have misspelled ‘hygiene’ throughout your entire project. Damn.
Take time to explain your metrics before going into explaining and applying content and filters. Explain the meanings and choices for your colours if necessary. A good piece of advice I heard last week was;
Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
Tell them what you told them.
BE CURSOR COOL
Your viewer will follow the cursor wherever it goes. Be conscious of it at all times. Be aware of its starting position and move it calmly and decisively when highlighting work. Make sure not to let the cursor be an extension of your fidgety hands. Let go and remove it from the screen when not in use.
If there is something you want to draw attention to, introduce it as an opportunity, not as a drawback.
Don’t unnecessarily volunteer gaps in your output. If the viewer has a question about something that is missing, they will ask and you can give the answer that anything is possible, or it was a consideration etc.
Draw attention to who the potential users of the viz may be and outline possible scenarios to which they might apply it. Show your enthusiasm for your solution that will encourage them to further engage with it.
We’ve learned so much more since last week that this list is already out of date, but I’m looking forward to working on these new skills, and more, for our next project.