Thanks to Hub member Judy Heck for drawing our attention to the immediate, impactful and surprising story told in this visual and data-driven lecture by Bill Gates and Hans Rosling at Karolinska Institutet on 31 March 2014.
Hub member Simone Parrish, Global Repository Director at the Knowledge for Health (K4Health Project) and fellow data viz aficionado, shares this great cross-post of practical tools and resources for data visualization. This is a cliff-notes version of Simone’s original blog post on the K4Health blog. Thanks Simone!
Looking for simple tools and resources as you work on visualizations?
There are a number of excellent, free, practical tools and resources for data visualization from the evaluation consultants at Innovation Network (particularly Johanna Morariu and Ann K. Emery, whose Excel kung fu was previously referenced on the DataViz Hub here: Hacking Beautiful Graphs in Excel). Check out:
- “DataViz! Tips, Tools, and How-tos for Visualizing Your Data”: Handout and slides from the March 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference.
- “Data Placemats,” from a white paper on participatory data analysis.
- Making Excel charts actually look good (!): Free video tutorials from Ann K. Emery.
- 2012 “State of Evaluation” report—Independent research on how the nonprofit sector uses evaluation, presented almost entirely through data visualizations.
Bonus Tip: Do you have a batch of interview transcripts or open-ended survey responses? Want to quickly get a sense of topics based on word frequency? Use Wordle (http://www.wordle.net/create).
This summary was also cross-posted to the Springboard for Health Communication.
Today’s post comes from Tiana Tucker from Georgetown University, talking about their deep dive into men’s health to get the content right before starting to do the visual design on an infographic on the topic.
When considering an infographic it is usually a good idea to explore who, what, when, where, why and how questions regarding the selected topic. Who is the target audience, what do they care about, where are they interacting online, why might this audience care about the infographic and how people will find or share the information. This is usually a good tactic to help you discover whether the audience you’re hoping to reach is a good fit with the content you’re producing. It may also help you think through more specific details, so you can dig deep.
The more details and research you can dig up before heading to the design phase the better as it will lend itself to keeping the project on budget and on time. Before deciding to produce our infographic, Spotlight on Men’s Health, Georgetown University’s online nursing program team explored every aspect of the who, what, when, where, why and how questions.
Today our question comes from Sebastian Lim, a student close to graduating looking for advice on career paths that involve a blending of visualization and public health:
- Monitoring and evaluation: If you like to get in the weeds of data, look for opportunities as an analyst or M&E staff member at a public health organization. Often times, the M&E staff work with program staff to find the story in the data and develop visual concepts that can be used to help make the data accessible and used by various audiences, like policymakers.
- Communications: If you like distilling the outputs from the data analysis into beautiful communications products for different audience, consider a role with communications responsibilities. Often other complementary skills are needed (such as strategic communications planning, graphic design, or public relations), so consider how viz would fit into one of these roles.
- Graphic design or an applied technology role: visualizations can be hand drawn (by a designer) or developed using various software programs (often by someone with tech skills, either adept at using viz software or with coding skills). If you’re interested in being the one to look at sketches, hear a story, and make the viz happen, think about how to prepare for a role in this domain.
There are also some less traditional spaces emerging in public health, focused on improving the experience of how individuals receive, process, and use information. Look for words and phrases like “user experience,” “design,” and “data use” in job descriptions. You could also consider a role focused on strengthening health information systems, focusing on improving how data is displayed to promote use at various levels of the health system.
The possibilities really are endless: data visualizations, from infographics to dashboards, have become ubiquitous and ever-evolving tools to make data accessible and useful. If you have additional suggestions, stories about your own career path involving visualization, or other advice, please share in the comments!
Today’s contributor is Carla Briceno from Bixal, who shares the examples of building an interactive map work for the team at the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) program.
K4Health is working with USAID to support the promotion of high impact practices (HIPs). The primary goal of the map is to depict the location of projects around the world implementing HIPs in various categories to facilitate communication among program implementers and USAID missions in the field. The map also provides an easily digestible visual aid that family planning programs and technical experts around the world can use to advocate for the various high impact practices.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communication Programs (JHU∙CCP) is the lead implementer of the USAID-funded Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project.