Data Visualisation – Art for Work’s Sake

It’s Friday – and I’ve just got time to share a simple idea before I head off to London for a busy and exciting day.

One of my clients recently gathered some data on the service they provide and I wanted to share it with a group during a workshop. I was keen to convey a sense of feeling along with the results, which themselves are very encouraging. In graph form, the data looks like this:

Customer Service Survey Graph

Spot on for accuracy, yet somehow this graph looks quite sterile. How might you convey something more emotional? As I was pondering how to share the data – someone in the room was talking about a method of modelling data which needed to be accurate, and a method of visualising data, which allowed more room for interpretation. I looked again at the numbers on the sheet of paper and saw something positive and energetic about it. I tried to visualise those feelings and here is what emerged from the end of my pen.

Customer Service Feedback Data Wave

The two images aren’t that dissimilar, and I drew the wave based on the numbers in the survey first, the graph then followed as I was curious to see how they compared. I think they both have their uses. The graph is accurate, and to me, the wave lends itself to a story of positive energy and surfing the wave. We could also talk about sustaining the energy of the current wave, and catching another one when the time is right. There’s also a conversation to be had about falling off the board and getting back on again.

What do you think? Good idea, crazy idea? It feels worth exploring to me – the shape of your data might not always lend itself to being interpreted artistically, and the drawing took all of a minute to make once the idea formed. That’s a pretty low risk investment to make when it comes to exploring new ways to think about work, isn’t it?

Have a lovely weekend.

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