Hello, AEA365 readers! We are Antonina Rishko-Porcescu (Ukraine), Khalil Bitar (Palestine/Germany) and Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead (USA), from EvalYouth, a global, multi-stakeholders partnership which promotes young and emerging evaluators to become future leaders in evaluation. Antonina is leader of an EvalYouth task force; Khalil is Vice-Chair of EvalYouth and Bianca is Co-Chair of the network. We are excited to share what we have learned from EvalYouth’s use of visualization when communicating with our young audiences of evaluators.
We communicate a lot with a broad range of evaluators, especially young and emerging evaluators, and young people from around the world. In this ever changing fast-paced world, we understand that using words is not enough. Information must be clear, direct, coherent, and compelling. One question we have explored is: how should we disseminate information and evidence in a way that draws novice evaluators in, and presents information in a meaningful way?
- Summarizing data collected through an international survey with young and emerging evaluators (e.g., here and here).
- Summarizing results of received applications for the first EvalYouth International Mentoring Program (e.g., here).
- Transforming the Network’s original logo to highlight special events and programs (e.g., here and here)
Hot Tips and Cool Tricks:
- Visualization makes complex data easier to understand, but it is not easy to create good visualizations; it involves hard work and research. Do your homework.
- Try to strike a balance between pictures and words. An infographic should include valuable information, not just cool graphics, but that too.
- Use colorful designs and, when appropriate, humor. Doing so invites readers, especially youth and young and emerging evaluators, to read information.
- Work collaboratively. Others bring fresh perspectives and new ideas, but also often feel more of an ownership of the project you are working on after it concludes. Ownership often means that there is an excellent possibility they will share it with relevant contacts and on their social media channels afterward.
- It is not enough to make a great infographic and stop there. Disseminate such work widely through mailing lists and social media outlets. There people will see your message and, very importantly, engage with it.
- Data visualization used well is a powerful communication tool. It can simplify complex ideas and big data in just a few items on an infographic.
- Working with a team of people from many backgrounds or countries, helps a lot. What might be right, appropriate and trendy in one region or culture, could be the opposite in another. Diverse team perspectives can identify and overcome such issues.
- The ethics of data visualization is also important to consider. A well-done data visualization is a powerful tool! As Uncle Ben in the Spider-Man series said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Care should be taken to ensure that the visualization message is accurate, valid, coherent, and just.
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