This is a 2-hour online course providing an introduction to the process of data visualization. Data visualization is a process by which one can display data in a way that is relevant and interesting to an audience, as opposed to using traditional data reporting visuals.
[UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2015] Most of the time when we think about representing numbers in a visual way, we think about things like bar graphs and pie charts. These can be great tools for displaying development indicators, but recent software advancements have created a wealth of additional resources and tips for presenting data in ways that are both visually appealing and easy to understand. This field is called 'data visualization', and is loosely defined as the creation and study of the visual representation of data.
Those of us who work with data know that it is most useful when widely disseminated and shared with others – and this is where the popular emerging field of data visualization comes in. It focuses on creating data representations that are clear, attractive, and message-driven. Some big players have emerged in this field in recent years, including Edward Tufte, Stephanie Evergreen, Stephen Few, and Hans Rosling.
In this Trending Topic list we present some high-quality and easy to use tools to help you visualize your data, as well as some examples of how country projects have done this effectively. As you will see, there are many resources out there that will help get your creative data visualization juices flowing!
Some Basics of Data Visualization*
Key Data Visualization Points
[Alberto Cairo, Introduction to Visualization (MOOC)]
- Information visualization does not depend on software
- Visualizations are not just art, but a form of communication that should respect journalistic [research] standards
- Visualizations are first about structure and storytelling
Characteristics of Effective Visualizations
[Stephen Few, Data Visualization for Human Perception]
- Clearly indicates the nature of the relationship
- Represents the quantities accurately
- Able to compare quantities easily
- Ranked order of values
- Audience able to understand how they should use the information
[Alberto Cairo, Introduction to Visualization (MOOC)]
- Learn as much as you can
- Prototype and sketch
- Test and tweak
- Share the visualization
The Health COMpass Focus Package team would like to thank the following people for their review of this Focus Package and contributions to its content:
- Libby Skolnik
- Naheed Ahmed
- Keris Raisanen
Handout from Global Health Mini University by Naheed Ahmed - to be posted shortly on the Global Health Mini University website
Gapminder promotes sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by increased use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels.
This application, designed for the iPhone, and available free from iTunes, provides immediate access to key country by country
Visual.ly aims to help users create visual content that draws attention, entertains, persuades, and informs. The application's platform connects designers, journalists, animators and developers with clients, featuring cloud-based collaboration tools. The aim is to deliver high quality content quickly and efficiently.
Tableau, described as easy to use business intelligence software, is designed to help make data, spreadsheets, and charts more easily understandable to those who are not statisticians or accustomed to interpreting complex data.
Google Charts provides a way to visualize data on a website. One can use anything from simple line charts to complex hierarchical tree maps, and there is a chart gallery which provides a large number of ready-to-use chart types.
TimelineJS is an open-source tool that enables you to build visual interactive timelines and is available in 40 languages. Beginners can create a timeline using nothing more than a Google spreadsheet.
Infogr.am is a web application that allows the user to create infographics or charts by choosing a design and adding data. There are both free and (upgraded) paid versions available.
The user first chooses an infographic or chart design, then adds text, data, and other aspects to create an infographic or chart.
This is a resource and information sheet about data visualization.
It provides questions to ask about creating a visual concept, the inputs to data visualization, and suggested resources for learning about data visualization.
This mobile app from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) provides the major indicators for surveys - Demographic and Health Survey, AIDS Indicator Survey, and Malaria Indicator Survey - at your fingertips.
Included are the following features:
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent global health research center at the University of Washington (US) that provides measurement of world health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them.
This is a timeline of the Ebola epidemic, including global milestones interspersed with the work of the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) teams in Liberia and in the United States. With active cases in Guinea and in Sierra Leone and the return of EVD to Liberia in June, our work continues.
These infographics can be downloaded and include the following topics:
- Polio cases per year
- Polio timeline
- Vaccines save lives
- Potential of vaccines against rotavirus
The term "RH supplies" refers to any material or consumable needed to provide reproductive health (RH) services. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to contraceptives for family planning, drugs to treat sexually transmitted infections, and equipment such as that used for safe delivery.