Dr. Stephanie Evergreen is an internationally-recognized data visualization and design expert. She has trained future data nerds worldwide through keynote presentations and workshops, for clients including Time, Adobe, Verizon, Head Start, American Institutes for Research, Rockefeller Foundation, Brookings Institute, and the United Nations. She writes a popular blog on data-presentation at StephanieEvergreen.com. Her book, Effective Data Visualization, was published in Spring 2016.
In this conversation, Stephanie discusses her other book, Presenting Data Effectively: Communicating Your Findings for Maximum Impact, just published in its second edition in June 2017. Both books hit #1 on Amazon bestseller lists.
Geetesh: Tell us more about the new edition of your book, Presenting Data Effectively.
Stephanie: I rewrote around one-third of this book and revised every single visual. The new content addresses ways we have to modify our reporting to adapt to the fact that audiences are reading on their phones and don’t want to scroll forever through some double spaced Times New Roman size 12 totally unengaging report.
I’ve supplied all kinds of cool navigational tools that make getting through our work products so much easier for our readers. I’ve added more on dashboards and strong alternatives to those. You’ll see guidance on when to use icons and when they don’t work. And I’ve also bulked up the advice on formatting graphs so the story in the data really pops out at an audience.
Geetesh: What, according to you is the biggest takeaway in this book for your readers?
Stephanie: The way we have been communicating our data no longer works (if it ever did) but the changes that are required are totally within your reach. You can do this.
Geetesh: If there’s just one thing that you can do to create better data visuals, what would that be, and why?
Stephanie: Put your audience first. You’ll hear that platitude a lot, usually without much direction on how to do so. In my book, I outline exactly what putting your audience first means. For one thing, it means start by telling people your bottom line, your conclusion, your answer. It’s what they came to hear.
You’ll have to check out the book for other very practical steps that show your audience you value their time and attention. That makes them want to actually give you their time and attention.