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Datum Design: Rethinking Data Visualisation for Business

Datum Design: Rethinking Data Visualisation for Business

Business data dashboards have gone through renaissance in the last five years with enhanced interactivity and easier tools to create them. However, most dashboard designed today are either at the 'pretty KPI decoration' end or at the 'detailed data explorers' end of the spectrum. They both fail to provide the level of insight communication, that we all see from purposeful designed visualisations in data journalism. This talks aims to understand the missing ingredients in current business dashboard design and aims to start a discussion on how we could rethink data visualisation for them. In the talk, I will explore a few guiding principles that could help us do this.

1. Amplify Cognition
2. Think Datum First
3. Show Single & All
4. Visualise Uncertainty
5. Towards Compositions
6. First Class Annotation
7. Layer Interactions

Amit Kapoor

April 26, 2017
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  1. Datum Design
    Rethinking Data Visualisation for Business
    Amit Kapoor
    amitkaps.com

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  2. In the last few months...
    — Helping a startup
    — Reviewing multiple dashboard products
    — Understanding the tools landscape

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  3. “We have a functional BI
    product, and we will put a
    dashboard on it”

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  4. “Business Dashboards are a
    solved problem”

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  5. This made me very uncomfortable
    — Is it all so simple?
    — Why do I rarely see good dashboard design?
    — Explain the glaring gap between data journalism and
    business?

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  6. “Information Seeking Mantra:
    Overview first,
    then zoom and filter,
    and details on demand”
    — Ben Shneiderman

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  7. “Business Information Seeking
    Dashboard Mantra:
    Overview Aggregate first,
    then zoom chart and filter link,
    and details table on demand”
    — Ben Shneiderman Every BI Designer Tool

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  8. BI Dashboard Design Approach
    — Load a data table

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  9. BI Dashboard Design Approach
    — Load a data table
    — Create aggregate measures

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  10. BI Dashboard Design Approach
    — Load a data table
    — Create aggregate measures
    — Make 1D or 2D charts

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  11. BI Dashboard Design Approach
    — Load a data table
    — Create aggregate measures
    — Make 1D or 2D charts
    — Put them in a block layout

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  12. BI Dashboard Design Approach
    — Load a data table
    — Create aggregate measures
    — Make 1D or 2D charts
    — Put them in a block layout
    — Link them with a few filters

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  13. BI Dashboard Design Approach
    — Load a data table
    — Create aggregate measures
    — Make 1D or 2D charts
    — Put them in a block layout
    — Link them with a few filters
    — Add a table list for details

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  14. Now this is too easy!
    — Task Layer: Unlock data using a Dashboard

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  15. Now this is too easy!
    — Task Layer: Unlock data using a Dashboard
    — Data Layer: Columnar data storage

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  16. Now this is too easy!
    — Task Layer: Unlock data using a Dashboard
    — Data Layer: Columnar data storage
    — Visual Layer: Reusable charts in blocks

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  17. Now this is too easy!
    — Task Layer: Unlock data using a Dashboard
    — Data Layer: Columnar data storage
    — Visual Layer: Reusable charts in blocks
    — Annotation Layer: Just the basics

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  18. Now this is too easy!
    — Task Layer: Unlock data using a Dashboard
    — Data Layer: Columnar data storage
    — Visual Layer: Reusable charts in blocks
    — Annotation Layer: Just the basics
    — Interaction Layer: Brushing and Linking

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  19. Creating simple used to be hard!
    Making a set of killer charts

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  20. "There is a difference between
    simple and easy. Do not confuse
    the two. The simpler the thing is
    to understand, often the more
    difficult it is to do."

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  21. “Age of Technology driven
    Interactive Charto-mania”

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  22. Technology driving Design
    UpSide
    - Increased visual analytics
    - Better simple charts
    - Improved aesthetic
    - Modular and Scalable design

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  23. Technology driving Design
    DownSide
    - Over-indexed on Singular Design Pattern
    - Shape of data is lost
    - Insight and Narrative is missing
    - Impersonal and Dry

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  24. “We need to rethink data
    visualisation for business”

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  25. Datum Design
    A set of principles to apply when
    building data visualisation

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  26. Datum Design
    1. Amplify Cognition
    2. Think Datum First
    3. Show Single & All
    4. Visualise Uncertainty
    5. Towards Compositions
    6. First Class Annotation
    7. Layer Interactions

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  27. 1. Amplify Cognition

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  28. 1. Amplify Cognition

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  29. 1. Amplify Cognition

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  30. 1. Amplify Cognition1
    1 Up and Down the Ladder of Abstraction - Bret Victor

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  31. 2. Think Datum First

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  32. 2. Think Datum First2
    2 The Architecture of a Data Visualisation - Giorgio Luipi

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  33. 3. Show Single & All

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  34. 3. Show Single & All

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  35. 3. Show Single & All3
    3 Responsive Data Visualisation - Nick Rabinowitz

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  36. 4. Visualise Uncertainty

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  37. 4. Visualise Uncertainty

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  38. 4. Visualise Uncertainty4
    4 Visualising uncertainty about the future - David Spiegelhalter, Mike Pearson, Ian Short

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  39. 5. Towards Composition

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  40. 5. Towards Composition

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  41. 5. Towards Composition5
    5 Sandbox - John Le

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  42. 6.First Class Annotation

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  43. 6.First Class Annotation6
    6 Making Annotations First-Class Citizens in Data Visualization - Elijah Meeks

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  44. 7. Layer Interaction

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  45. 7. Layer Interaction

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  46. 7. Layer Interaction7
    7 Vega - Airport Connection

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  47. Upside Datum Design
    1. Build a mental model
    2. Understand the single story
    3. Have a micro and macro picture
    4. Know that data and model are uncertain
    5. See the picture as a whole
    6. Have a narrative to see
    7. Move between layers of abstraction

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  48. Principles of Datum Design
    1. Amplify Cognition
    2. Think Datum First
    3. Show Single & All
    4. Visualise Uncertainty
    5. Towards Compositions
    6. First Class Annotation
    7. Layer Interactions

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  49. One human life, closely observed,
    is everyone’s life. In the particular is
    the universal.
    — Roger Ebert

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  50. Datum Design
    Rethinking Data Visualisation for Business
    Amit Kapoor
    amitkaps.com
    @amitkaps

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