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 the training to provide delegates with an accessible introduction to data visualisation and infographic design. There are four key objectives common to all types of training:
The emphasis of the training is to help participants to think. It will help you most astutely rationalise all the choices you are faced with and navigate through the different potential decisions. The workshop content will be delivered through an energetic blend of teaching, discussion, individual practice and group work. The range and depth of content will vary depending on the type and format of workshop, but generally the topics covered include:
Practical exercises will be incorporated into the session to help participants apply the learning at each stage of the session. These exercises include evaluation tasks, familiarising with the physicality of data, establishing editorial options, assessing the application of chart and design options and working up sketched concept solutions for a range of different scenarios. Some exercises will be discussion based, others will involve very basic Excel skills and there will also be some design/idea sketching - but don’t worry; it is not a test of your artistic skills!
These workshops are ideal for anyone who has a responsibility for, or is interested in the best practice techniques for the visual analysis and presentation of data. This includes analysts, statisticians, researchers and other data professionals, as well as designers and interactive developers maybe looking to broaden their portfolio of skills. It is also suitable for people who may rarely get directly involved in the handling, analysis or visualisation of data, such as managers, supervisors or customers of visualisation work. These are consumers who might simply be looking to increase the sophistication of their eye for good visualisation practices.
There are no prerequisite knowledge or skills, nor a single profile of the ideal delegate. You can be from any background or any role but you must have an inherent curiosity for finding stories in data and conveying these to others. That is the key attribute, as is a willingness to contribute to discussions and activities in a respectful and constructive manner.
It should be noted that workshops will generally include an overview of some of the key visualisation technologies but the workshops are not focused on one specific tool, application or programme. The training is more focused on the craft, equipping you with the skill to respond effectively to any data-driven design challenges within the context of your own technical resources and capability. Participants of any workshop are encouraged to bring a wireless-enabled laptop to optimise their experience during the sessions. There are no specific programmes or applications required beyond the typical line up of Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, a web browser and a pdf reader. A ratio of one laptop between two will be fine. All presentation and exercise materials will be issued digitally on USB flash drives or can be issued ahead of the event should delegates have problems with USB access.
All training workshops are delivered by Andy Kirk on behalf of Visualising Data Ltd. You can read more about Andy’s work and background in the 'About' pages.
The key characteristic that shapes the difference in training types is the duration. It is no necessarily useful to think of courses in terms of basic, intermediate and advanced, it is more relevant to appreciate that the more time spent equates to a more in-depth journey into the subject.
A short, seminar format event providing an outline of the art, science and value of data visualisation design. Recommended class sizes vary.
An interactive workshop that covers the essentials of data visualisation design, structured around a design methodology, providing delegates with a wide variety of ideas, practical resources and inspiration. Basically a half-day version of the one-day workshop below. Recommended max class size of 40. Typical agenda.
The most popular format. A one-day introduction to data visualisation and infographic design offering an energetic blend of teaching, practical exercises and discussion. The session covers in detail the critical thinking and array of design and analytical choices available at each stage of the design process. Recommended max class size of 25. Typical agenda.
The most in-depth version of the training workshop, this 2-3 day format (flexible) allows a great deal of time to truly cover the depth of this subject across all aspects. With a longer duration it also enables a greater number of exercises and a more prolonged opportunity to work on concept solutions from cradle to grave. As with all other training, this workshop format does not focus on teaching tools/technology though it more time is spent profiling the array of options. Recommended max class size of 25. Typical agenda.
There is so much potential depth and detail in teaching data visualisation that it can be sliced and packaged into many different shapes and sizes. If you have a different set of needs from the formats presented above, just ask!
Public workshops are entirely influenced by the level of interest that exists anywhere around the world - you can see the variety of locations where events have been held on the 'Previous Events' tab. Check out the 'Future Events' tab to see if a workshop in a location near you has been planned. If not, and you are interested in attending a public training workshop in a city near you, please complete the form on the 'Request an Event' tab and your preferred location will be noted and added to the wishlist. Once sufficient levels of interest are expressed for a given place every effort will be made to schedule an event in that location. Class sizes are generally kept to maximum of about 25 and minimum around 6 to help balance a supportive learning environment with opportunities for one-to-one instruction and group discussion between all participants.
Alongside the schedule of public events, private, on-site training events can be scheduled for organisations to hold for their staff. These workshops offer the value of a full, focused training session with the potential for activities to be designed 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 on-site training event can be designed and delivered to maximise your learning and development. Clients will be responsible for arranging the venue for the training and the costs of any refreshments desired. If your company/organisation is interested in hosting a private, on-site training event, please complete the form on the 'Request an Event' tab or send an enquiry email to Andy Kirk to discuss your requirements.
These are special workshops where an organisation may host a training event but open up attendance to certain delegates, for example, if attached to a conference event.
The dates and locations for my currently-arranged, upcoming 2014 public training events are presented below:
Here are a selection of testimonials from workshop participants with their comments and feedback about both public and training events.
The schedule of training events is entirely based around where demand exists: opportunities are always being sought to offer training in new places around the world. If you are interested in attending a training workshop in a city near you please complete the form below and your preferred location will be noted and added to the wishlist. Once sufficient levels of interest are expressed for a given place every effort will be made to schedule an event in that location and you will be notified of the plans. If your company/organisation is interested in hosting a private, on-site training event, please either fill in the form below or send an enquiry email to Andy Kirk to discuss your requirements.