During gift-giving season every year, Oprah publishes a list of her favorite things. Well, move over, Oprah, because I also have a list. This is my bag of holiday gifts for our NEO Shop Talk readers.
There are two websites with galleries of data visualizations that are really fun to visit. The first, Information is Beautiful , has wonderful examples of data visualizations, many of which are interactive. My favorites from this site are Who Old Are You? (put in your birth date to start it) and Common MythConceptions. The other is Tableau Public, Tableau Software Company’s “public commons” for their users to share their work. My picks are the Endangered Species Safari and the data visualization of the Simpsons Vizapedia. And, in case you’re wondering what happened to your favorite Crayola crayon colors, you can find out here.
Nancy Duarte’s The Secret Structure of Great Talks is my favorite TEDtalk. Duarte describes the simple messaging structure underlying inspirational speeches. Once you grasp this structure, you will know how to present evaluations findings to advocate for stakeholder support. I love the information in this talk, but that’s not why I listen to it over and over again. It’s because Duarte says “you have the power to change the world” and, by the end of the talk, I believe her.
I also am a fan of two videos from the Denver Museum of Natural History, which demonstrate how museum user metrics can be surprisingly entertaining. What Do Jelly Beans Have To Do With The Museum? shows demographics with colorful candy and Audience Insights On Parking at the Museum talks amusingly about a common challenge of urban life.
If you want to try your hand at creating snappier charts and graphs, you need to spend some time at Stephanie Evergreen’s blog. For example, she gives you step-by-step instructions on making lollipop charts, dot plots , and overlapping bar charts. Stephanie works exclusively in Excel, so there’s no need to purchase or learn new software. You also might want to learn a few new Excel graphing tricks at Ann Emery’s blog. For instance, she describes how to label the lines in your graphs or adjust bar chart spacing.
How about a virtual tour to the UK? I still marvel at the innovative Visualizing Mill Road project. Researchers collected community data, then shared their findings in street art. This is the only project I know of featuring charts in sidewalk chalk. The web site talks about community members’ reactions to the project, which is also pretty fascinating.
I left the best for last. This is a gift for our most sophisticated readers, recommended by none other than Paul Gargani, president of the American Evaluation Association. It is a web site for the true connoisseurs of online evaluation resources. I present to you the Twitter feed for Eval Cat. Even the NEO Shop Talk cats begrudgingly admire it, although no one has invited them to post.
Here’s wishing you an enjoyable holiday.