Show me the numbers:
Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten

by Stephen Few


Having good information visualization software is not enough. Even knowing how to use the software is not enough. The ability to design effective visual displays of data is not intuitive; it requires a set of visual design skills that must be learned.
Based on his recent book, "Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten", Stephen Few introduces the Best Practices in data presentation in this workshop.
We make huge investments annually in Business Intelligence (BI) technology, but it often fails to deliver on the promise of improved productivity and smarter decisions. Assuming that you need only install BI software and the rest will take care of itself is a false hope.
To use BI technology effectively, you still need fundamental skills in the analysis and presentation of information. A relatively small investment in skills development can make the difference between the success or failure of a huge investment in technology.
The most common and important use of BI software involves the analysis and presentation of quantitative information - the numbers that measure Business Performance. Most quantitative data, such as sales data and other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), are presented as tables and graphs. Unfortunately, most tables and graphs used in Business today are poorly designed. Why? Because almost no one who produces them, including specialists such as financial analysts and other report developers, have been trained in effective table and graph design. You can become an exception to this norm.
This course provides practical instruction in table and graph design developed specifically for the needs of Business. It will alleviate countless hours of confusion and frustration. Following Stephen Few's clear precepts, communicated through examples of what works, what doesn't, and why, you will learn to design tables and graphs that present data clearly and drive your message home.

What you will learn

  • To Match your message to the right type of display
  • To Remove extraneous information so that the data speaks clearly and the most important data speaks loudly

Main Topics

  • When to use tables versus graphs
  • Common quantitative messages and the types of graphs that communicate them best
  • The basic steps in the visual design process for effective communication
  • Effective techniques for graphically encoding data
  • Common pitfalls in data presentation