Want to be a viz leader? Have some guts.

My daughter won elite gold in her dance competition.  Design your winning viz!

In my last post, Replicating your old vizs in Tableau? STOP NOW (please)!, you learned specific steps to break away from old visualization thinking.  Now it’s time to turn those ideas into vizs.

Rather than work with Tableau or other software right away, pull out blank pieces of paper and a black Sharpie (or pen if you must) to make sketches.  Have a bottle of white-out handy.  For example…

Gross Profit by Region-State Sketch

While this approach might strike you as odd (you are not alone), at certain times there’s just something really reinforcing about hands-on-paper vs. hands-on-keyboard.

I know you are anxious to start working, but you must shift your thinking here too.  I call this step “bold design” because you need a bit of bravery to start driving change.

Ask yourself these questions to build bravado and stay on course.  Start over if you answer “no” to any.  Also see Inject performance enhancers into your visualizations (March 20, 2013).

  • Will this visualization make my team/boss uncomfortable?
  • Is the main idea crystal clear with a quick glance?
  • Did I use size, shape, and color to enhance the message?
  • Did I keep the sketch simple with low levels of detail?
  • Will this invoke a conversation about possible actions?

Post some of your sketches here to help everyone get energized.

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