Thanks to the provocation of a Boston Hacks/Hackers MeetUp, I tried out a new way of talking about the a process for Data Therapy. Most children in American learn about the five Ws in the context of how to report a story like a journalist – discuss the who, what, when, where and why. This provides a nice metaphor for the way that I talk about the process of making a creative presentation of your data!
- The Who – identify your audience as well as you can
- The What – find and characterize your data-driven story so you understand it fully
- The When & Where – respect the context your audience will be in when seeing your presentation
- The Why – be clear to yourself about your goals, and try to identify your audience’s
- The How – pick an appropriate technique for your presentation and try it out
I know, the last one isn’t a W, but according to Wikipedia that has historical precedent!
The key problem here is that few resources exist to help you pick the How based on the who/what/when/where/why! I’ll expand on this more later, but we need to build scaffolding to help people pick appropriate data presentation techniques based on their data, audience and goals. Is a heat-map or bar graph better for my data? Should I use a stand-up / sit-down physically activity or a pie-chart? These are the central questions I’m trying to help people solve with my Data Therapy workshops.