Data Visualization: Addressing Data Overload with the Power of "Wow"

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Data Visualization: Addressing Data Overload with the Power of "Wow"
Taking data to the next level with successful visualizations is a hard skill for anyone to master. Visualizations make data more compelling and can influence your audience to take action. Panelists Noah Iliinsky, visualization expert and industry luminary at the IBM Center for Advanced Visualization; Brian Pagels, director of data services at Forum One Communications; and Edward Segel, head of web product at Oscar Health Insurance shared strategies on how to pick the right data, choose the most effective and appropriate graphics, and what channels to focus on for distributing your visualizations. 
Iliinksy kicked off the breakout by presenting the four pillars of visualizations: purpose, content, structure, and formatting. “Purpose dictates the deliverable,” he said. Iliinksy went in depth about many options for images, including graphs, charts, maps, etc. Iliinksy and the other panelists all agreed and stressed the point that successful visualizations are the product of numerous iterations. 
To begin his presentation, Pagels displayed a quote by David McCandless: “If you’re navigating a dense information jungle, coming across a beautiful graphic or lovely data visualization, it’s a relief. It’s like coming across a clearing in the jungle.” Pagels went on to describe the importance of storytelling and how to elevate data to tell a powerful story. He explained how stories earn media attention and can help spread the word to your audience. “Increased distribution of your data accelerates the pace of change,” said Pagels. He related this to AF4Q and how in the current phase of the program the art of data visualizations and storytelling is essential to increase influence and sustainability.
Segel continued with the theme of storytelling. He provided the audience with ideas, resources, and polishing techniques. “Guide readers through the story or they’ll get lost,” he said. Segel also discussed bringing it back to basics. Sometimes the simplest visualizations are the most powerful. He said to focus on techniques like layout, color, and fonts. “If one person doesn’t have all of the skills, make a team,” Pagels advised.
The panelists encouraged the audience, assuring them that anyone can create successful visualizations with time and effort. Resources and slides from the presentations can be found below.