Slides of my talk "Effektive Datenvisualisierung mit Dashboards" held at Digital Dialog

I was invited to give a talk about data visualization at yesterday's Digital Dialog in Unterpremstätten / Graz. The general topic this time was data science and I've chosen to give a 20 minutes long presentation about effective data visualization with dashboards.

Update: there is also a press release of the event.

The goals of my talk were to

  • give the listeners a better understanding of what a dashboard is,
  • what a dashboard is going to solve for companies
  • and which common mistakes to avoid when implementing dashboards

For those who are interested, I'd like to share my slides: Download Slides

A slide of my talk about effective dashboards

Download Slides "Effektive Datenvisualisierung mit Dashboards"

Color Perception Demo - How Many Fives?

To demonstrate the importance of the proper use of colors I developed a small demo (HTML/CSS/JS) published on github inspired by Stephen Few's book Information Dashboard Design. Below you can see three different visual encodings of number array. Try to count the number 5. I'm pretty sure that you'll find the last picture to be the easiest visualization to digest.

The first picture does not use colors at all. Our visual sense is forced to do processing of complex geometric shapes, which numbers are.

Color perception demo: number array encoded just in grey

The second picture encodes the numbers in the popular traffic light colors. The fives are red, all other numbers are either green or orange. We recognize that this representation is far easier to digest. The reason is that color is easier to perceive for our brain than complex shapes. However, keep in mind that about 10% of men and 0.5% of women are color-blind.

Color perception demo: number array encoded in traffic light colors

But in some way it's still not easy to count the fives with traffic light colors. Here is the third visualization that uses color only to highlight the fives – those items that should catch our attention.

Color perception demo: number array where just highlights are encoded as red


In my career as a software engineer I developed quite a few dashboard-like interfaces and I tried to convey my learnings in this talk. But I would also like to give credit to Stephen Few who's book Information Dashboard Design helped me to underpin my personal experiences with deep background knowledge. So if you're interested in the particular topic of dashboards, I highly recommend reading Stephen's book.

More Information

If you're looking for external input regarding dashboards or if you think that this talk would be of value for your organization, let's talk.

Published by Robert Möstl

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