Greetings, I’m Ann Emery from Innovation Network in Washington, DC. A few years ago, I discovered Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes video. I’d never seen anyone share data in a way that simply made so much sense.
Since then, I’ve been hooked on dataviz. Thankfully, I’m not alone! As the demand for data increases, evaluators are finding better ways to communicate information.
Cool Tricks—The Dataviz Hall of Fame for Evaluation: Evaluators have made amazing strides in dataviz. Here are a few of my favorite ways that evaluators are using dataviz:
- The innovative: Through their creativity and imagination, these Dataviz Hall of Famers are blazing the trail. For example, Michael Szanyi showed us how to use dance as a viable evaluation tool. Kirsten Anderson, Anika Taylor, and Tatyana Venegas Swanson created an interactive display for the Eval12 conference. Stephanie Evergreen even created scratch-off graphs! And, our favorite cartoonist Chris Lysy reminded us that even heat maps can talk dataviz.
- The practical: Some of our field’s greatest dataviz accomplishments have been the most practical. At a standing-room-only presentation at Eval12, Susan Kistler shared 25 low-cost, no-cost tech tools for dataviz. Stephanie Evergreen showed us which fonts are best for graphs, how to present line graphs in slideshows with the slow reveal, and how to make back-to-back bar charts in Excel. David Shellard showed us how to create better charts by adjusting Excel’s default settings*.
- The interactive: Are your community’s service providers using dusty old maps during their decision making process? The Carson Research Consulting team created an interactive mapping tool that allows human service providers to visualize neighborhood-level data in Baltimore.
- The reporting: Has your evaluation report been thrown into the bottomless pit of Dusty Shelf Reports? Johanna Morariu and I shared tactics for using dataviz to conquer the dusty shelf report, Sarah Rand produced an online evaluation report, and Susan Kistler is getting us to think imaginatively for evaluation reporting.
- The visual thinking: Evaluators are finding great ways to visualize all types of information. Jeff Wasbes uses causal loop diagrams, Johanna Morariu teaches evaluation basics through mindmaps, Andrea Hutson displays evaluation timelines as infographics, and Sara Vaca creates visuals that define evaluation.
Rad Resources—Coffee Break Webinars: The Data Visualization and Reporting TIG has sponsored more than a dozen AEA coffee break webinars. At just 20 minutes each, you can enhance your dataviz skills during your lunch break.
Lessons Learned—Additions to the Dataviz Hall of Fame? These are just a few of my favorite examples. Who else deserves a spot in the Dataviz Hall of Fame for their evaluation-related dataviz skills?Share your nominations in the ‘comments’ section below.
*This link requires a member login to the AEA website.
aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. AEA is celebrating Data Visualization and Reporting Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members of AEA’s Data Visualization and Reporting Topical Interest Group. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice.