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Making your data visualisations more effective

Date
Date
Thursday 18 April 2024, 12:30am - 2:30pm
Location
Worsley 8.43y / Online (MS Teams)
Speaker
Nicola Rennie is a Lecturer in Health Data Science within the Centre for Health Informatics, Computing, and Statistics at Lancaster University

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Good data visualisation requires appreciation and careful consideration of the technical aspects of data presentation. But it also involves a creative element. Authorial choices are made about the “story” we want to tell, and design decisions are driven by the need to convey that story most effectively to our audience. Software systems use default settings for most graphical elements. However, each visualisation has its own story to tell, and so we must actively consider and choose settings for the visualisation under construction. In July 2023, the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) published a new guide, “Best Practices for Data Visualisation”, containing insights, advice, and examples (with code) to make data outputs more readable, accessible, and impactful. The guide was initially written primarily for contributors to RSS publications but the information and advice within is also of broad relevance and use for any data visualisation task. The guide is open source, and has received contributions from the wider data visualisation and statistics communities. In this talk, Nicola will showcase why you should visualise data and how the RSS guide was developed, present some guidelines for making better charts, before we discuss examples of good and bad charts.

Bio:

Nicola Rennie is a Lecturer in Health Data Science within the Centre for Health Informatics, Computing, and Statistics at Lancaster University. She holds a PhD in Statistics and Operational Research, focusing on analysing and visualising transport demand. Her current research is focused on applications of statistics and machine learning to health-related data, communicating statistics, and the effective teaching of data science.

Nicola has also previously worked in data science consultancy, and delivered training courses covering topics including advanced data visualisation with R, statistical modelling, and reproducible reporting. She is co-author of the Royal Statistical Society's Best Practices for Data Visualisation Guide, and an active member of the Royal Statistical Society. Several of her data visualisations have been long-listed at the Information is Beautiful Awards.