Visual Reports

Posted on July 9, 2015 | in Technology And Customer ServiceDataviz | by Taj Carson

Several weeks ago, one of our clients came to us with a challenge:** find compelling ways to present 10 years of grantmaking data.** The client wanted us to tell their story and present the data in a way that people at all levels (data nerds and non-data nerds) at their organization could easily understand.

I was tasked with analyzing the data and worked closely with the CRC dataviz experts, Taj and Matthew, to come up with the different visuals for the report. I’m no dataviz expert but here’s what I learned:

  • Client feedback is important: Take time to hear your client’s thoughts on the visualizations you are creating, you want to make sure you are meeting your client’s expectations.
  • Patience is key: I spent a lot of time creating and re-creating multiple charts and graphs. It takes time to make sure every visual aligns with the story you are trying to tell. If you need a break, eat a muffin.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help: If you get stuck, ask a colleague or check out online forums to see if there is a solution to the problem you’re having. Google is a great friend.
  • Sketch!: Take time to sketch out what you want your visuals to look like. Trust me, it’ll save you a lot of time in the end.
  • Don’t be afraid to try: I made about 40-50 visuals for this project. Around half were rejected by the design team but I learned a lot throughout the process:
  • Pie charts are not your friend* No one at CRC likes pink or mustard yellow* Embrace white space* Not every visualization needs to be a bar graph* Embrace awesomeness

In the end, we created a pretty cool report for our client that they really liked. Since we can’t share the report online for proprietary purposes, we created a similar report for this blog. Take a look and share your thoughts.

Also, don’t forget to check out our summer webinar series: Data Systems: Where and How to Store Your Data

July 15, 2015 :12-1pm

Sarah will explore different options for data storage systems and solutions for those who seek to streamline their data collection and storage processes. This learning session will focus on selecting the best software for your specific needs and organizing your program data.

Microsoft Excel Magic: Developing Mesmerizing Charts that Enchant & Engage your Audience

July 29, 2015: 12-1pm

This webinar will focus on the effective visual representation of data using charts that can be created in Microsoft Excel. The strategic use of design principles and the practical skills needed to create charts that are visually appealing, functional, and informative will be addressed

Each webinar costs $25. Sign up here:

Happy Summer!