Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend Stephanie Evergreen’s Presenting Data Effectively workshop at The Evaluator’s Institute. The workshop offered logical advice so your work will stand out from the rest (you know those Microsoft default colors? Ditch them!), and a chance to talk to evaluators who work outside the museum field. I learned so many things that I can’t wait to try in my work; each night I wanted to go home and practice what I learned.
However, the biggest take-away wasn’t a new type of graph to try or the websites that can help me pick complimentary colors for reports. It was a very simple reminder: Although we have five senses, we take in information first and foremost with our eyes. After realizing this, I reflected a bit on my work and my process. Yes, I take time to organize reports so that they make sense – the data dictates the most logical way to organize the report; for example, I often organize trends from most to least pervasive. But, working with qualitative data as often as I do, I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about how to best visually present essential data or how to present information using graphics and colors so report results are easier for clients to see. And then I was reminded: We take in information first with our eyes.
So, since it is January and a time for resolutions, I resolve to make 2015 the year I keep report visuals in mind. Here’s to a more visually pleasant 2015!