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Making Data Meaningful

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Presented on May 7, 2015 to the TechChange Technology for M&E course. The aim of the presentation was to highlight key considerations in designing visualizations as part of international development programs, and includes both challenges of visualization in development programs and six things to consider when designing visualizations.

Making Data Meaningful

  1. 1. 6 MAY 2015AMANDA MAKULEC JSI CENTER FOR HEALTH INFORMATION, MONITORING & EVALUATION Photo credit: Robin Hammond TECH CHANGE | TECHNOLOGY FOR MONITORING & EVALUATION MAKING DATA MEANINGFUL
  2. 2. Amanda Makulec Program Manager & RME Associate John Snow, Inc. Passionate about how visualizing data effectively can empower people to make decisions.
  3. 3. Monitoring and evaluation is fundamentally about generating information that can inform decisions.
  4. 4. We want to be purposeful in how we collect and analyze data.
  5. 5. But we also want to be purposeful in how we visualize our data.
  6. 6. Advances in data collection technology enable us to collect data more efficiently than ever before.
  7. 7. Effective visualizations help stakeholders use that information for decisionmaking.
  8. 8. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, design is how it works. -Steve Jobs, Apple
  9. 9. meaningful beautiful Well designed visualizations
  10. 10. An example: PRB World Population Report 2010
  11. 11. PRB World Population Digital Visualizations 2014
  12. 12. Developing data visualizations as part of international development programs presents unique challenges.
  13. 13. Limited resources mean team members often wear multiple hats. © Robin Hammond
  14. 14. Where connectivity is limited, using snazzy web-based tools can be challenging.
  15. 15. © Robin Hammond The level of analytical understanding across audiences can vary widely.
  16. 16. And report formats and templates required by donors have not (historically) been heavily visual.
  17. 17. Despite these challenges, using visualizations to analyze and use data is huge in the development community.
  18. 18. There are some simple principles worth considering when designing visualizations in development programs.
  19. 19. The most useful data visualizations are often designed by a team.
  20. 20. Consider whose expertise would be useful. M&E Advisor Graphic Designer Technical Expert Communications Expert
  21. 21. For data analysis tools like dashboards, engage your end user to understand their needs. Image credit: Beth Kanter
  22. 22. Be purposeful when identifying the audience for your visualization.
  23. 23. Different stakeholders have different data needs.
  24. 24. Consider your stakeholders’ literacy, numeric literacy, and what data they need to make decisions.
  25. 25. An example from the Care Community Hub
  26. 26. Identify the story you want to tell & consider additional available data.
  27. 27. Start with the data you’ve collected.
  28. 28. Then, identify additional data available that would help you tell your story better visually.
  29. 29. Invest time in choosing the right visualization product.
  30. 30. STATIC IMAGES: COMMUNICATING A MESSAGE THE USER EXPLORES YOUR DATA AND CAN DRAW THEIR OWN CONCLUSIONS. YOU DECIDE THE STORY AND THE MESSAGE, GUIDING YOUR READER. iNTERACTIVE: PROMOTING EXPLORATION & USE
  31. 31. CHARTS AND GRAPHS
  32. 32. _ infographics INFOGRAPHICS
  33. 33. _ dashboards DASHBOARDS
  34. 34. MAPS
  35. 35. An example of data use in action from MEASURE Evaluation
  36. 36. Consider access to technology and where you need print materials.
  37. 37. Don’t forget to make sure your beautiful design prints well in black and white though!
  38. 38. You can build beautiful visualizations with simple tools you already know.
  39. 39. Jumping straight to design tools can get complicated.
  40. 40. Instead, sketching is a great place to start.
  41. 41. *Normal as defined by standard BMI measures and women aged 20-49 years. Data table from: Black RE, Victora CG, Walker SP, Bhutta ZA, Christian P, de Onis M, Ezzati M, Grantham-McGregor S, Katz J, Martorell R, Uauy R. Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries” The Lancet 2013; (06 June 2013) DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60937-X. underweight normal overweight obese 1980 2008 1980 2008 1980 2008 1980 2008 Africa 18 12 64 58 14 19 4 11 LAC 4 2 66 43 22 31 8 24 Asia 19 17 68 62 11 17 2 4 Europe 4 4 61 55 25 28 10 13 Oceania 6 2 69 45 19 32 6 21 Working from a simple table, using Excel, you can design meaningful, visually appealing graphs and charts.
  42. 42. Change in BMI status of women 20-49 years from 1980 to 2008 by region 1980 2008
  43. 43. The proportion of women who are overweight has increased in low and middle income countries.
  44. 44. Those graphs can be used in infographics, dashboards, or other visualization products.
  45. 45. Bonus: A few ideas for visualizing qualitative data
  46. 46. The challenge of visualizing qualitative data requires thoughtful consideration of design and layout.
  47. 47. Use icons with key themes to draw attention visually to paragraphs of text.
  48. 48. Use color strategically throughout a report or presentation
  49. 49. Use quote boxes and text box call outs to highlight key points.
  50. 50. Create a framework or diagram to explain a complex relationship From Pilot to Practice | SC4CCM
  51. 51. Nov 2013 Dec Jan 2014 Feb Mar April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan 2015 Feb Mar April May June July April Sept Oct Nov Baseline data collection Follow-on data collection starts & is continuous to Nov 2015 Budget data validation (July-Aug) Documentation of Yr1 initial findings (Aug-Oct) Yr2 budget data collection; Yr1 information sharing Yr2 budget data validation Global dissemination starts Data collection concludes District baseline data collection District data validation Documentatio n of Yr1 findings District follow up period District information sharing (Jan- Feb) District budget data validation Final round of data collection nationaldistrict Develop simple timelines
  52. 52. Or more complex ones
  53. 53. And consider exploring some of the tools available in this space
  54. 54. DataVizHub.co Amanda Makulec amakulec@jsi.com @abmakulec CONNECT
  • KangwonSong

    Jun. 14, 2017
  • donyawankritaisong

    Feb. 11, 2016

Presented on May 7, 2015 to the TechChange Technology for M&E course. The aim of the presentation was to highlight key considerations in designing visualizations as part of international development programs, and includes both challenges of visualization in development programs and six things to consider when designing visualizations.

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