Visual Business Intelligence Workshop

‘Show Me the Numbers: Table and Graph Design’ (two-day course) and ‘Now You See It: Visual Data Analysis’ will be offered at this workshop.

Show Me the Numbers: Table and Graph Design

No information is more important to most organizations than quantitative information — numbers that measure performance, identify opportunities, and predict the future. Most quantitative information is presented in tables and graphs. Unfortunately, most tables and graphs produced in organizations today are poorly designed—often to the point of misinformation. Why? Because almost no one who produces them, including specialists such as financial analysts and business intelligence professionals, have been trained in effective table and graph design. You can become an exception to this norm.

The ability to present quantitative information effectively is not intuitive; it requires visual communication skills that must be learned. Based on the book Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten by Stephen Few, this course provides an in-depth introduction to the best practices of quantitative data presentation.

This course alleviates countless hours of confusion and frustration. Following Stephen Few’s clear precepts, communicated through examples of what works, what doesn’t, and explanations of why, you will learn to design tables and graphs that present data clearly and drive your message home. This two-day version of the course differs from the previous one-day version in part by including more content (for example, more information about table design), but mostly by adding many more group exercises and extended discussions to drive the principles home and build a firmer foundation for the development of expertise. You will leave this course having developed table and graph design skills that will stick with you and add immediate value to your work.

Everyone who attends this course will receive a copy of the book ‘Show Me the Numbers, Second Edition’.

Now You See It. Visual Data Analysis

Ninety percent of all business data analysis can be done using simple graphing techniques to discern meaningful patterns in data. The remaining 10%, which requires sophisticated statistical and financial analysis skills, is well addressed by available resources, but where are the resources that teach the skills needed by the rest of us? Even though these skills are easy to learn and apply with proper guidance, very few people involved in analyzing business data know them. This course provides a solution.

This course is intended for all those whose work requires them to make sense of quantitative business data. This audience is much broader than financial analysts, or even analysts by any name. This course provides practical skills that are useful to managers at all levels and to anyone interested in keeping a keen eye on the business. Anyone who uses Excel or any of the many other business productivity tools used for data access, analysis, and reporting, will learn how to use them productively, perhaps for the first time.

Everyone who attends this course will receive a copy of the book ‘Now You See It’.

You Will Learn To

  • Match your message to the right type of display
  • Design tables and graphs to communicate information simply, clearly, and accurately
  • Understand each of the prominent quantitative relationships and the stories they have to tell (time-series, distribution, correlation, etc)
  • Use the best graphs, visual analysis techniques, and practices for analyzing each type of quantitative relationship
  • Recognize the visual characteristics of data that are meaningful
  • Navigate through data analytically and efficiently
  • Apply the findings of information visualization research to the analysis of business data

Day 1


The current state and challenges of quantitative data presentation

Introduction to table and graph design

  • Fundamental challenges of data presentation
  • Key characteristics of quantitative information
  • Differing characteristics and uses of tables and graphs
  • Eight common quantitative relationships featured in graphs
  • Visual perception and how it applies to data presentation
  • Steps in the visual design process

Day 2


Table design

Graph design

  • Visual objects used to encode values in graphs, and the best uses of each
  • Matching the right visual encoding objects to the eight fundamental quantitative relationships in graphs
  • Graph design at the component level

Day 3


An introduction to visual data analysis

The traits of top data analysts

The best data for meaningful analysis

Visual perception and data visualization

Visual characteristics to look for in the data

Quantitative business analysis techniques by type

  • Analyzing time series
  • Analyzing rankings and parts-to-whole
  • Analyzing deviations
  • Analyzing distributions
  • Analyzing correlations>
  • Analyzing multivariate profiles
  • Analyzing geo-spatial data

Analytical navigation

The critical contributions from the information visualization research community