As an evaluation professional with communications sensibilities, one of the most common requests I hear from projects is, “How can I make this pretty?” They’re usually presenting me with a chart, graph, Powerpoint deck, or even a table of numbers that need some TLC for someone to be able to draw conclusions and see trends in the data. They’ve hit a wall, or simply don’t feel like they have the skills to pull something together that communicates their message in a more meaningful way.
Data visualizations—specifically clean, elegant, thoughtfully-designed visualizations—are powerful ways to transform endless rows of numbers in Excel into a picture that tells a story. There is continued and overwhelming demand for good visualizations – from graphs and charts to more complex infographics. There is also a need for visualization capacity building, and a proliferation of web-based tools to help amateur designers make their visuals sing.
Creating great visualizations isn’t usually a solo endeavor. It requires a team of people with complementary skill sets, from the analyst who finds the story in the data to the communications guru who helps to massage the message and make sure the project branding guide gets to the designer who makes an idea come to life. Some people wear two or three hats on the visualization team, but each has a unique set of skills that they bring to the table. I work with a few colleagues who wear different hats on the data viz team, and together we realized there wasn’t a great space for sharing resources and ideas across evaluators, communicators, program managers, and other experts keen to ensure that the findings from their projects are widely accessed and used.
As a result, we recently launched the Data Viz for Development Hub as a vibrant community for sharing resources, tools, examples, and ideas about data visualization. Using graphs, charts, maps, tables, infographics, and other visualizations can improve how we communicate information to stakeholders and the larger development community.
With a wealth of resources available, and a growing interest across international development practitioners to build effective visualizations, the Hub will help keep communicators, evaluators, developers, and others informed about data viz best practices and new tools, connecting visualizers from all domains of expertise.
Check out the Hub at datavizhub.co, and join the community listserv by emailing email@example.com with the subject “Join.” We look forward to connecting with you about all things data viz!