‘Introduction to Data Visualisation’ training courses
Exponential advances in technology have provided us with ubiquitous means for creating, recording and mobilising incredible amounts of data. Where once data was scarce, now it is captured in abundance. Our attitudes as consumers have also evolved. We demand transparency and openness and yearn for insight and understanding through compelling visuals.
Whilst we have access to fantastic tools and widespread capabilities for data handling and analysis, the techniques required to most effectively display and communicate data are somewhat neglected. In a cluttered and competitive world, a design approach based on instinct or personal taste is no longer sufficient to cope with, let alone exploit, the fantastic opportunities our data repositories present us with.
This is where data visualisation comes in.
Data visualisation is both an art and a science. It is an art concerned with unleashing creativity and innovation, designing communications that appeal on an aesthetic level and survive in the mind on an emotional one. It is a science aimed at understanding and exploiting the way our eyes and brains process information most efficiently, effectively and accurately.
The objective of these training courses is to provide you with a comprehensive introduction to contemporary data visualisation design. The emphasis of this training is to help you to think. It will help you most effectively and efficiently rationalise all the choices and pathways you are faced with in any visualisation process. There are four key objectives:
- To challenge your existing design approaches and your perceptions of effective visualisation designs
- To equip you with foundation knowledge and a portable, versatile and flexible data visualisation design approach that will help you navigate the complex path towards success.
- To give you the chance to practice different aspects of the visualisation creation process in a rich, interactive environment
- To inspire you. You will hopefully leave the event buzzing with excitement about the knowledge you have acquired, the many contemporary examples you have witnessed and the passion you have unearthed to tackle future data visualisation challenges with greater confidence, now seeing them as opportunities.
Events can be delivered in half-day, one-day or two-day formats. Typically, the one-day model proves to be the most popular and this is the duration for public events. The main topics covered in the training will include:
- Foundation understanding of the human visual system
- Definitions and distinctions
- The visualisation design methodology and process
- Identifying the purpose of your visualization and your project’s key factor
- Methods for becoming intimate with your dataset to identify its key physical attributes
- The importance of an editorial approach to data-driven design
- Best practice approaches for tackling different data types and problem contexts
- The key visualisation design rules
- Understanding the design anatomy of a data visualisation
- Discussion about the spectrum of different chart types and graphing options
- Colour usage
- Interactivity and animation
- Outline of the essential visualisation tools and resources
- Visualisation project case studies
The course will also include exercise opportunities to work on individual and group visualisation exercises:
- Apply instinctive critical thinking to visualisation work
- Practice reading and interpreting charts
- Identifying story angles in data
- Assessing the deployment of chart types
- Assessing the choices around design execution
- Practice developing design concept solutions for given challenge
Here is an indicative agenda for the one-day training course. This content will be delivered through an energetic blend of teaching, discussion, individual practice and group work. The relatively small class sizes will facilitate one-to-one opportunities to discuss and explore the data visualisation problems or tasks delegates are facing in their workplace. It may also be possible, depending on the mix of the groups, to tackle some of these during the day as we work through the stages of a sample visualisation design challenges to embed and refine your craft.
Who should attend?
These courses are ideal for anyone who has a responsibility for, or is interested in best practice approaches to the visual analysis and communication of data. Whether you are a designer, a manager, a commissioner or an evaluator of visualisation work, this course will perfectly suit your needs.
You might be an analyst of large and complex data sets, or somebody who just wants to enhance the occasional report. You might be an academic looking to share critical insights more effectively or in advertising and looking to stand out from the crowd. You might be a programmer with no design training or a designer with no programming skills. You might be in advertising, medicine, the media, engineering or the public sector.
The point is that there is no ‘typical’ delegate, data is everywhere and we’ve all got to do something with it so let’s do it right. Anyone and everyone is most welcome and encouraged to attend!
Furthermore, there are no skill, no knowledge and no role-based pre-requisites or expectations of any person attending, other than you should be willing to contribute to discussions and activities during the day.
You should note that the training will not go into great depth about any one specific technology. If you are expecting to come away with instant interactive programming capabilities, or a deep discussion about different tools, this won’t be the best course for you. We will certainly profile the most effective and cutting-edge tools, programming languages and other environments but the purpose of the training is to coach you through the fundamental design considerations, strategies and best practice methodologies associated with this exciting field. We are not training how to use a tool, we are teaching the craft that lies behind the use of any tool.
Why should I attend? How do I know it is any good!
I could offer plenty of marketing spiel about how life-changing these courses are but rather than just take my word for it, here are a selection of testimonials page from attendees with their comments and feedback from both public and training courses.
The dates and locations for my currently-arranged, upcoming 2014 public training events are presented below:
|London||Tuesday 14th January||Sold out|
|Utrecht||Wednesday 22nd January||Course details and registration||Sold out|
|Houston, TX||Monday 3rd March|
|Dublin (Maynooth)||Wednesday 19th March||Half-full|
|Edinburgh||Wednesday 26th March|
|Frankfurt||Wednesday 9th April|
|Boston, MA||Wednesday 23rd April|
|Chicago, IL||May 2014||Registration coming soon…|
|Montreal||May 2014||Registration coming soon…|
Shape my future schedule!
My training schedule is entirely based around where the demand is. Rather than you come to me, I bring my training to you. I am always looking for opportunities to deliver training courses in new places around the world. Once I receive sufficient volume of requests for a certain location I will typically look to arrange an event there.
If you would be interested attending one of my one-day ‘Introduction to Data Visualisation’ training courses please send me an email with your name and desired location and I’ll add you to my list.
Private training events
Alongside the schedule of public events, bespoke training events are available for organisations to arrange for colleagues to attend private training sessions. Such events offer the benefits of receiving a full training session but with the content and activities designed, where possible, to suit the client’s specific requirements.
Maybe you have a specific workplace visualisation challenge that you would like to work on within the structure of a training session? Or perhaps you want to explore visualisation possibilities of various key datasets in teams and see what each team comes up with? Whatever your organisation’s visualisation needs are, an effective training event can be designed and delivered to maximise the training benefit to you. Here are some of the most recent organisations who have run a training event.
If you would like to enquire about arranging a bespoke event please contact Andy Kirk to discuss your requirements.
Key details and practicalities
Costs – The individual event costs are published against the links for each event and vary according to format, and delegate type.
Registration – To register for an event, just click on the links above and follow the on screen instructions. If you are not in position to pay but wish to reserve a place before then just email me and I will hold a spot for you. Credit card and PayPal payments are accepted but if you would prefer to arrange a BACS transfer or cheque payment via invoice, that is also fine. Just let me know what works for you.
Venues – Specific venues will be announced as and when appropriate space is secured but typically all events will be as city-central as possible. Details will be updated on the relevant training event pages.
Class size – The maximum class size is typically between 15 and 22 (varies according to venue rules). This relatively small size helps to facilitate a supportive learning environment with plenty of one-on-one instruction as well as energetic interaction and group discussion between all attendees.
Times – The full-day courses will commence at 9:30 and finish around 17:00 with registration commencing from 9:00. There will be short breaks in the morning and afternoon sessions and a lunch break of around 45/60 minutes (usually depending on proximity to amenities). Half-day sessions vary so check out the relevant links to find out about the specific schedule.
Refreshments – Drinks/refreshments will typically be arranged on arrival at least. Lunch is not provided but all venues will be picked based on convenient access to appropriate food and drink facilities.
Laptops – You are encouraged, but not required, to bring a wireless-enabled laptop with you and to be prepared to share your workspace with others. There are no specific programmes or applications required though it will useful if you have Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, pdf reader, a modern browser version as well as (ideally) the QuickTime plugin installed.