DSNY2 was spared a day of Dashboard Week (though not the accompanying blog post…) and discussed effective data communication with coaches Ann and Michael.
One aspect of our day was focused on engaging with your audience, something that is crucial as consultants. In our experience with client projects, we have communication with the stakeholder throughout the week, but not necessarily the audience.
Audience - the person who uses the data product you build; their feedback is most important for the iterative process
Stakeholder - the person who asks you to build a data product and provides initial requirements; may not be the same person who uses it
Before you start to build, there are a few good questions to ask about your audience. It helps to think of the audience as an active participant in the analysis process.
- Who is the audience?
- One way I think about this is technical and non-technical audiences - this could affect the types of instructions for interactive elements.
- You also have to consider what this particular audience wants to see in a dashboard - sales KPIs for a sales executive, marketing KPIs for a marketing specialist, etc.
- What are their priorities? What are their problems?
2. What do you need the audience to do?
- Usually, you want someone to take action on the data you present. Example - a negative growth indicator can act as a trigger for action.
3. How will the data help?
- Data helps in proving your point, or to make more informed decisions.
4. Where are the highlights? What is interesting?
- Being able to answer this question comes from having done exploratory data analysis, and if you are unable to, spend more time with the data!
- Where should the audience focus?