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20NTC Session Proposal

Data visualization 101: with great power comes great responsibility


Data visualization is powered by neuroscience. Vision is the sense most closely connected to cognition: we make sense of the world as we see it. Because of this, human beings are experts at identifying visual patterns. While we have to think about how numbers in a table make sense, the trend and anomalies of the same numbers aggregated into a bar chart are understood an instant. 

In this session you will learn about graphical perception, or understanding how the brain interprets visualizations and the best ways to communicate data visually; how to understand and transform your data to build powerful visualizations; what tools to use (from free to very costly); the benefit of static versus interactive visualizations; and how to gain and highlight insights from your data by asking the right questions. Lastly, we will talk about the ethics of data visualization to avoid intentional or unintentional misrepresentation of fact.

Learning Outcomes

  • Transform data, understand users, and leverage graphical perception (how the brain works).
  • Select the right tool, know when to have static or interactive visualizations, and whether to share locally or globally.
  • Ask the right questions of your data, highlight insights, and understand the ethics of data visualization.

Target Audience

marketing and communications staff, fundraisers, IT decision makers, leaders, program managers

Additional Speakers

Ellen Hannibal, National MS Society

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