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LET’S HAVE A THINK ABOUT 
DATA VISUALISATION THINKING 
Andy Kirk 
@visualisingdata
Data visualisation specialist: Trainer, lecturer, researcher, 
author, design consultant, speaker, twitterer...
Theories and techniques 
Real-world practice
TALENT 
THINKING
5 ATTRIBUTES OF 
GOOD VISUALISATION 
THINKING
#1 
ORGANISED 
Sequenced thinking
1. Establish the visualisation’s purpose 
PRACTICAL 
CREATIVE 
2. Acquire, familiarise with and prepare 
your data 
3. Det...
Recommended talk/project... 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMB_6OeCEP8
Process but not procedure
“There's a strand of the data viz world that argues that 
everything could be a bar chart. That's possibly true but 
also ...
Framework for thinking rather than rules for learning
Framework for thinking rather than rules for learning
Where to begin? What pathway to take? 
http://www.mattneuman.com/maze.gif
Cohesion and flow of thinking
Organised thinking for visualisation 
The most effective and efficient way to 
sequence your thinking.
#2 
Boring! 
CONTEXTUAL 
Framing our thinking
The influence of context 
YOU ARE KAYAKING ALONG THE 
COAST OF GREENLAND AND YOU 
NEED A ‘CHART’ TO NAVIGATE 
(HT to Mark ...
Three options: Which is best? 
http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
It needs to cope with being wet 
http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
It needs to float 
http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
It needs to work in the dark 
http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
Needs to work without cellular signal 
http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-...
It shouldn’t be cumbersome to use 
http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps...
We can’t rely on anything that needs power 
http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-...
It is too cold to work without gloves 
http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-...
Final score 
http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0123740371/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&tag=visuadata-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399...
“...this example reinforces my thesis that in order to 
design a tool, we must make our best efforts to 
understand the la...
Contextual thinking for visualisation 
What’s the best visualisation solution? 
It always depends.
#3 
IMAGINATIVE 
Harnessing instincts
Our instincts offer a unique perspective 
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/01/what-you-get-when-30-pe...
Our instincts offer a unique perspective 
http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/06/a-short-essay-about-interpretat...
Our instincts offer a unique perspective 
http://visualizing.org/galleries/peoples-choice-visualizing-london-2012-olympic-...
Importance of sketching
Influence and inspiration 
http://www.monumentvalleygame.com/img/screenshot2.jpg
Influence and inspiration 
http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2012/05/the-fine-line-between-plagiarism-and-inspirati...
EXERCISE 
Audience participation
What keywords and imagery come to mind? 
ANALYSIS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF 
PSYCHOTHERAPY TREATMENT ON 
PATIENTS IN ALASKA, 201...
What keywords and imagery come to mind? 
Care 
Help 
Support 
Improvement 
Deterioration 
Healthy 
Unhealthy 
People 
Indi...
What keywords and imagery come to mind? 
http://design-seeds.com/palettes/ArcticLove600.png
What keywords and imagery come to mind? 
GRAPHIC TO MARK THE MILESTONE OF THE 
500TH EXECUTION IN TEXAS
What keywords and imagery come to mind?
Imaginative thinking for visualisation 
What mental visualisations – instinctive 
keywords and imagery – form when you 
th...
#4 
JOURNALISTIC 
Harnessing curiosity
Self-initiated curiosity 
http://bklynr.com/block-by-block-brooklyns-past-and-present/
Self-initiated curiosity 
http://guns.periscopic.com/
Self-initiated curiosity 
http://guns.periscopic.com/?year=2010
The journalist-analyst sensibility to find and show
One to watch: Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/people/christopher-ingraham
“A photo is never an objective reflection, but always an 
interpretation of reality... I see data visualization as sort of...
Editorial focus: Filtering 
http://i.imgur.com/RmXbrDZ.jpg
Editorial focus: Filtering 
http://i.imgur.com/RmXbrDZ.jpg
Editorial focus: Representative angle? 
http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/jul/05/diego-maradona-belgium-famous...
Editorial focus: Representative angle? 
http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/jul/05/diego-maradona-belgium-famous...
Editorial focus: Other angles available? 
https://twitter.com/toddlerlex/status/440393501810118656/photo/1
Editorial focus: Other angles available? 
https://twitter.com/toddlerlex/status/440393501810118656/photo/1
Pattern matching, sense-making, sniffing out the story 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Landmesser
Pattern matching, sense-making, sniffing out the story 
http://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/latest
Pattern matching, sense-making, sniffing out the story 
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/19/upshot/peyton-mannin...
Journalistic thinking for visualisation 
What triggers your data-focused curiosity? 
What ‘photos’ of your data do you nee...
#5 
CRITICAL 
Developing the craft
Independent critical thinking 
http://eagereyes.org/blog/2014/beyond-the-knee-jerk-reaction
“There is a tendency to just reflexively make fun of 
certain types of charts, in particular pie charts and 
3D charts. Wh...
Choices: The breadth of critical thinking (136 charts in 34 secs)
Choices: The depth of critical thinking 
http://openvisconf.com/2014/
Choices: The depth of critical thinking
Dieter Rams’ ‘10 principles of good design’ 
https://www.vitsoe.com/gb/about/good-design
“Designers Touching Their Face” 
http://dttf.tumblr.com/
“#8 Good design is thorough down to the last detail... 
Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance.” 
Dieter Rams’ ‘10 pr...
EXERCISE 
Team participation
Prizes to be won! Need two teams of 3 people…
Identify as many visualisation design decisions as possible... 
http://hint.fm/wind/
Critical thinking for visualisation 
How can your resolve the 
best design choices from the vast range 
and depth of optio...
5 ATTRIBUTES OF 
GOOD VISUALISATION 
THINKING
ORGANISED 
CONTEXTUAL 
IMAGINATIVE 
JOURNALISTIC 
CRITICAL
Let’s get this little guy working
LET’S HAVE A THINK ABOUT 
DATA VISUALISATION THINKING 
Andy Kirk 
@visualisingdata
Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking
Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking
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Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 1 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 2 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 3 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 4 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 5 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 6 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 7 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 8 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 9 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 10 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 11 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 12 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 13 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 14 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 15 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 16 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 17 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 18 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 19 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 20 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 21 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 22 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 23 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 24 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 25 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 26 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 27 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 28 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 29 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 30 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 31 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 32 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 33 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 34 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 35 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 36 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 37 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 38 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 39 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 40 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 41 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 42 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 43 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 44 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 45 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 46 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 47 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 48 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 49 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 50 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 51 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 52 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 53 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 54 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 55 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 56 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 57 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 58 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 59 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 60 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 61 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 62 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 63 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 64 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 65 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 66 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 67 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 68 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 69 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 70 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 71 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 72 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 73 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 74 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 75 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 76 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 77 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 78 Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking Slide 79
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"Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking" talk given by Andy Kirk at the 'Data Visualization Group in the Bay Area' Meetup at the University of San Francisco, on Thursday 23rd October 2014 (http://www.meetup.com/visualizemydata/events/212438912/)

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Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking

  1. LET’S HAVE A THINK ABOUT DATA VISUALISATION THINKING Andy Kirk @visualisingdata
  2. Data visualisation specialist: Trainer, lecturer, researcher, author, design consultant, speaker, twitterer...
  3. Theories and techniques Real-world practice
  4. TALENT THINKING
  5. 5 ATTRIBUTES OF GOOD VISUALISATION THINKING
  6. #1 ORGANISED Sequenced thinking
  7. 1. Establish the visualisation’s purpose PRACTICAL CREATIVE 2. Acquire, familiarise with and prepare your data 3. Determine the editorial focus of your subject matter 4. Conceive your design: data representation and presentation 5. Construct and complete your design solution
  8. Recommended talk/project... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMB_6OeCEP8
  9. Process but not procedure
  10. “There's a strand of the data viz world that argues that everything could be a bar chart. That's possibly true but also possibly a world without joy” Amanda Cox, New York Times http://blogs.hbr.org/hbr/hbreditors/2013/03/power_of_visualizations_aha_moment.html
  11. Framework for thinking rather than rules for learning
  12. Framework for thinking rather than rules for learning
  13. Where to begin? What pathway to take? http://www.mattneuman.com/maze.gif
  14. Cohesion and flow of thinking
  15. Organised thinking for visualisation The most effective and efficient way to sequence your thinking.
  16. #2 Boring! CONTEXTUAL Framing our thinking
  17. The influence of context YOU ARE KAYAKING ALONG THE COAST OF GREENLAND AND YOU NEED A ‘CHART’ TO NAVIGATE (HT to Mark Daggett @heavysixer)
  18. Three options: Which is best? http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
  19. It needs to cope with being wet http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
  20. It needs to float http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
  21. It needs to work in the dark http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
  22. Needs to work without cellular signal http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
  23. It shouldn’t be cumbersome to use http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
  24. We can’t rely on anything that needs power http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
  25. It is too cold to work without gloves http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
  26. Final score http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/03/tactile-visualisations-inuit-wood-maps/
  27. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0123740371/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&tag=visuadata-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=0123740371
  28. “...this example reinforces my thesis that in order to design a tool, we must make our best efforts to understand the larger social and physical context within which it is intended to function.” Bill Buxton, “Sketching User Experiences” http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0123740371/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&tag=visuadata-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=0123740371
  29. Contextual thinking for visualisation What’s the best visualisation solution? It always depends.
  30. #3 IMAGINATIVE Harnessing instincts
  31. Our instincts offer a unique perspective http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/01/what-you-get-when-30-people-draw-a-world-map-from-memory/282901/
  32. Our instincts offer a unique perspective http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2013/06/a-short-essay-about-interpretation-doodling-perceptions-and-people/
  33. Our instincts offer a unique perspective http://visualizing.org/galleries/peoples-choice-visualizing-london-2012-olympic-games
  34. Importance of sketching
  35. Influence and inspiration http://www.monumentvalleygame.com/img/screenshot2.jpg
  36. Influence and inspiration http://www.visualisingdata.com/index.php/2012/05/the-fine-line-between-plagiarism-and-inspiration/
  37. EXERCISE Audience participation
  38. What keywords and imagery come to mind? ANALYSIS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF PSYCHOTHERAPY TREATMENT ON PATIENTS IN ALASKA, 2013
  39. What keywords and imagery come to mind? Care Help Support Improvement Deterioration Healthy Unhealthy People Individuals Anonymised Integrity Authoritative Sensitivity Transparency
  40. What keywords and imagery come to mind? http://design-seeds.com/palettes/ArcticLove600.png
  41. What keywords and imagery come to mind? GRAPHIC TO MARK THE MILESTONE OF THE 500TH EXECUTION IN TEXAS
  42. What keywords and imagery come to mind?
  43. Imaginative thinking for visualisation What mental visualisations – instinctive keywords and imagery – form when you think about a task, its topic and its data?
  44. #4 JOURNALISTIC Harnessing curiosity
  45. Self-initiated curiosity http://bklynr.com/block-by-block-brooklyns-past-and-present/
  46. Self-initiated curiosity http://guns.periscopic.com/
  47. Self-initiated curiosity http://guns.periscopic.com/?year=2010
  48. The journalist-analyst sensibility to find and show
  49. One to watch: Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/people/christopher-ingraham
  50. “A photo is never an objective reflection, but always an interpretation of reality... I see data visualization as sort of a new photojournalism – a highly editorial activity.” Moritz Stefaner http://well-formed-data.net/archives/1027/worlds-not-stories
  51. Editorial focus: Filtering http://i.imgur.com/RmXbrDZ.jpg
  52. Editorial focus: Filtering http://i.imgur.com/RmXbrDZ.jpg
  53. Editorial focus: Representative angle? http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/jul/05/diego-maradona-belgium-famous-photo#_
  54. Editorial focus: Representative angle? http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/jul/05/diego-maradona-belgium-famous-photo#_
  55. Editorial focus: Other angles available? https://twitter.com/toddlerlex/status/440393501810118656/photo/1
  56. Editorial focus: Other angles available? https://twitter.com/toddlerlex/status/440393501810118656/photo/1
  57. Pattern matching, sense-making, sniffing out the story http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Landmesser
  58. Pattern matching, sense-making, sniffing out the story http://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/latest
  59. Pattern matching, sense-making, sniffing out the story http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/19/upshot/peyton-manning-breaks-touchdown-passing-record.html?abt=0002&abg=0
  60. Journalistic thinking for visualisation What triggers your data-focused curiosity? What ‘photos’ of your data do you need to convey your message?
  61. #5 CRITICAL Developing the craft
  62. Independent critical thinking http://eagereyes.org/blog/2014/beyond-the-knee-jerk-reaction
  63. “There is a tendency to just reflexively make fun of certain types of charts, in particular pie charts and 3D charts. While that is often justified, there are also exceptions... we have to suppress the knee-jerk reflex and give them a moment of thought before ripping them apart.” Robert Kosara http://eagereyes.org/blog/2014/beyond-the-knee-jerk-reaction
  64. Choices: The breadth of critical thinking (136 charts in 34 secs)
  65. Choices: The depth of critical thinking http://openvisconf.com/2014/
  66. Choices: The depth of critical thinking
  67. Dieter Rams’ ‘10 principles of good design’ https://www.vitsoe.com/gb/about/good-design
  68. “Designers Touching Their Face” http://dttf.tumblr.com/
  69. “#8 Good design is thorough down to the last detail... Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance.” Dieter Rams’ ‘10 principles of good design’ https://www.vitsoe.com/gb/about/good-design
  70. EXERCISE Team participation
  71. Prizes to be won! Need two teams of 3 people…
  72. Identify as many visualisation design decisions as possible... http://hint.fm/wind/
  73. Critical thinking for visualisation How can your resolve the best design choices from the vast range and depth of options available?
  74. 5 ATTRIBUTES OF GOOD VISUALISATION THINKING
  75. ORGANISED CONTEXTUAL IMAGINATIVE JOURNALISTIC CRITICAL
  76. Let’s get this little guy working
  77. LET’S HAVE A THINK ABOUT DATA VISUALISATION THINKING Andy Kirk @visualisingdata
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"Let's do some thinking about data visualisation thinking" talk given by Andy Kirk at the 'Data Visualization Group in the Bay Area' Meetup at the University of San Francisco, on Thursday 23rd October 2014 (http://www.meetup.com/visualizemydata/events/212438912/)

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