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Designing Data Visualizations

by David LaFontaine

Organizations increasingly need someone to make sense out of all the “Big Data” they are generating. This course will teach you how to identify the signals hidden in your datasets and choose visualizations that tell compelling, interesting stories.

What you'll learn

Data Visualization Designer is one of the hottest new careers in tech because organizations around the world are drowning in all the “Big Data” they’re generating. They need people with the skills to turn raw facts and figures into visualizations that tell a story and make an impact. In this course, Designing Data Visualizations, you'll learn how to use your creativity and intuition to find the insights in datasets, as well as basic data-analysis techniques, to create “enriched” data and choose the correct visual to communicate real meaning. First, you’ll see how to spot “signals” in the data – it turns out that human common sense and knowledge of context are not only still relevant, but absolutely crucial. Then, you’ll learn techniques like pivot tables, conditional formatting, and data joins and merges to generate clear insights, while avoiding the “Four Deadly Sins of Data Visualization.” Finally, you’ll explore what kinds of visualizations match up best with what the data is telling you. When you’re finished with this course, you'll understand how to look inside the data, pull out what your audience needs and is most interested in, and use that to design data visualizations that stick.

Table of contents

Course Overview

Course FAQ

What are data visualizations?

Data visualization is an interdisciplinary field that deals with the graphic representation of data. It is a particularly efficient way of communicating when the data is numerous as for example a Time Series.

What are the prerequisites for the Designing Data Visualizations course?

Whether you’re new to designing data visualizations or looking to enhance your skills, this is the perfect place to get started. You’ll learn how to use your creativity and intuition to find the insights in datasets, as well as basic data-analysis techniques, to create “enriched” data and choose the correct visual to communicate real meaning.

Why is data visualization important?

Data visualizations make big and small data easier for the human brain to understand, and visualization also makes it easier to detect patterns, trends, and outliers in groups of data. Good data visualizations should place meaning into complicated datasets so that their message is clear and concise.

What are data visualization tools?

Data visualization tools provide designers with an easier way to create visual representations of large data sets. When dealing with data sets that include hundreds of thousands or millions of data points, automating the process of creating a visualization makes a designer's job significantly easier.

What are pivot tables?

A pivot table is a table of statistics that summarizes the data of a more extensive table. This summary might include sums, averages, or other statistics, which the pivot table groups together in a meaningful way. Pivot tables are a technique in data processing.

What is conditional formatting?

Conditional formatting is a feature in many spreadsheet applications that allows you to apply specific formatting to cells that meet certain criteria. It is most often used as color-based formatting to highlight, emphasize, or differentiate among data and information stored in a spreadsheet.

About the author

David LaFontaine is an author, journalist, digital media consultant, and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California. David specializes in content strategy, user interface design (UX & UI), and digital media production. His clients include: The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, U.S. State Department,, KelbyOne Media, CreativeLive, Wiley Publishing, B3Communications, AssetShield, and Roundabout Entertainment. His expertise in media and technology have earned him invitat... more

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