Why data is more than just numbers

Quick thought: When I'm delivering a training session, or talking to clients, I try to avoid using the term 'data' and instead use the word 'information'.   Many clients and trainees fall into the trap of thinking that data means numbers, whether that's sales figures, yearly activity data or survey results. However, it's more useful to think of data as information  - which can cover anything from times and dates, locations, systems, lists of names...

Need a Tableau dashboard? Here’s the information I need

This post discussed my use of Tableau Software. For more information on Tableau visit the official website I've always used Tableau to quickly get to grips with a new data set and play with different chart types until I come across something effective. I've also created several 'personal' projects using this tool. More recently, I've been talking to several clients about creating Tableau dashboards or interactive infographics for them. These are

My Route – touchtable design

My Route – touchtable design
My Route was a heritage project based in Birmingham. I was commissioned to design a touch table that would show the changing history of the Stratford Road, one of the key routes in the city, from the 1940s to today. You can find out more about the whole project in this short film After several months of research and trialling, I began developing a map that would allow users to see the businesses along the road in 10 years intervals. Using the Kelly's Di...

If you needed any more proof that I am a data visualisation and productivity nerd …

In order to keep track of the various projects, I use an Excel spreadsheet. This calculates project hours, rates etc. The spreadsheet breaks each day down into 30 minute blocks, into which I paste a coloured block and code - which helps calculate the running totals. As well as being useful - it also generated this bonus visualisation! I started this in Oct 2013 - So now, I present, my work diary from Oct 2013 - Dec 2014.   ...

Infographics for Housing Associations

It's been all about housing associations recently! I'm currently working on an annual report infographic for Thames Valley Housing (covering their key statistics) but was also recently invited to speak to a network group of National Housing Federation communications professionals in the West Midlands. I delivered a 45 minute talk on infographics including: why infographics the process of developing them some key tools. What I find inte...

Appearing soon at …

I've had a flurry of invitations to speak in public recently and, as one of my New Years Resolutions was to say 'yes' more, I've agreed to all of them. Over the next 2 months I'll be appearing at the following events - ticket details below, and if you're already going, do say hi!         April CAKE Morning Date: April 29th 2014 Venue:  Digital Humanities Hub, University of Birmingham, Pritchatts Road, Edgbast...

UPDATE – courses, quickies and connections

I'm constantly pleased to see the number of organisations thinking about visual communication. Over the last 6 months I've been busy with a series of "Influential Analysis" training courses for Understanding Modern Government, where I have been (hopefully) inspiring people to rethink how they communicate information both internally and externally. Organisations attending the public courses, or booking in-house sessions, include various NHS trusts...

Information Designer for Hire: what to expect

 Caroline Beavon is a freelance information and infographics designer - get in touch for more details Whilst organisations may have had experience working with graphics or branding designers in the past, the process to develop an infographic is very different. Ask any graphics designer who's been asked to convert a 20 page report into an image, and chances are they'll tell you that designing an infographic requires a whole new set of skil...

Infographics? Infovisuals? Stop and think

Visual communication is nothing new. Man has been daubing on walls and scratching into rock for centuries. Whether it's “5 Ways to Catch and Skin a Deer” or “The River Styx: Everything You Need to Know”, visual representations of information have been the simplest way to pass information from one person to another. Nowadays, the data explosion has meant there is not only more information to be conveyed, but an increased demand for access and understa

Tableau Public – creating a map for someone else to update

Tableau Public – creating a map for someone else to update
If you're not familiar with Tableau Public, you can find out more here ---- I've recently been working on a project which encourages creative SME's to explore data as a way of improving their business. I'll blog more about the project at a later date, but I wanted to share on particular element of the project that I thought may be useful. After discussions with one company, we decided a series of maps would help them plot future business growth. O

Off-the-peg infographics – Easel.ly V Piktochart

Off-the-peg infographics – Easel.ly V Piktochart
 Caroline Beavon is a freelance information and infographics designer - get in touch for more details Technically, as an infographics/data visualisations designer, I really shouldn't even be promoting these but they're big news at the moment and you may be tempted to give them a go. Choosing one of these tools is the equivalent of using a template CV  - it does the job, most people won't mind and it's cheaper /easier than doing something ...

Telling Stories with Data

Telling Stories with Data
(an edited version of this article originally appeared in the HyperWM newpaper, Nov 2012)   Once upon a time … When was the last time you sat down and read a fairy story? It may be a few years, but I’m sure you could tell a few of those childhood stories from memory. Whether it’s the interesting characters, the exciting storylines, the emotion you felt or the moral lessons you learned; the stories stick. When was the last time you s...

PROJECT: Sampad Annual Report

You can see more of my infographic and data visualization work here   A few months ago I was invited to create an infographic for the charity, Sampad. The challenge was this: to show some of the key statistics from their year of activity, in a small area on a single or series of small infographics. (They were keen to reduce their annual report in both page-size and page-numbers, but didn't want to reduce the amount of information on displa

Is Rock Dead?

Is Rock Dead?
Final Project for MA Online Journalism, Birmingham City University, 2010 Interactive data project investigating the music album charts from 1970-2010 The brief to discover if rock music really is on the decline using Official Charts Company Data Tools used included: Adobe Flash, Adobe Illustrator, Tableau Desktop Sources, bibliography and references

10 Ways to Use Infographics: part 2

Please note: not all images are mine  - please click image for source You can see more of my infographic and data visualization work here     In 10 WAYS TO USE INFOGRAPHICS: PART 1, I talked about using infographics for linkbait, journalism, article illustrations, annual reports and postcards/posters. This time I'll be looking at video inserts, explanation, audience analysis, adverts and presentations Video - bring the numbers to lif

Olympics Torchbearers – working on a collaborative data project

I was recently asked by Paul Bradshaw (online journalist and founder of Help me Investigate) to create an infographic as part of his investigations into the Olympic Torchbearers - and more specifically, who got the places? The investigation has not appeared both on The Guardian DataBlog (read it here) and Help Me Investigate Olympics And - if you're feeling in a generous mood, the whole investigation has been turned into an ebook, with a donation opt...

10 ways to use infographics: part 1

Part 2 here Please note: not all images are mine  - please click image for source Infographics are hot property right now. Many companies use them and image sharing sites like Pinterest and Flickr are full of them. Here are 10 ways you could bring your information to life in an interesting and accessible way. 1. "Linkbait" - sell your services This is THE most popular use of infographics. Most of the ones you see online fall into this category.

Communicate – latest issue out now

I am delighted to say that the latest issue of Communicate Magazine is out, featuring a handful of my latest infographics. As their in-house Visualization Specialist, I create graphics from various research data for their monthly issues. For this issue, the focus was the attitudes of the PR industry and the media to digital trends, including use of email and social media. I created more images than the ones used in the article - the rest are g...

The Spread of Tech [animated]

Key: RED: fixed broadband internet BLUE: mobile phone subscriptions YELLOW: internet users GREEN - telephone lines (all per 100 population) STORY OF A VIZ: Altered last minute to the deadline for the Guardian / Google Competition This gave me 2 hours do something with a range of data available, to address the issue of the worldwide recession and how national behaviour protected against this, or aided recovery. THE DATA Due to the l...

Current Projects – mystery clients, Olympics, forums and rockin’ maps!

Current Projects – mystery clients, Olympics, forums and rockin’ maps!
After a relatively quiet period, recently I've had a flurry of work  and opportunities - and some very interesting ones at that. Excuse the lack of client names, but many of these are active projects. If you are interested in hiring me - you can find me on Twitter (@carolinebeavon) or email carolinebeavon at gmail.com Thanks PROJECTS Infographic > Local Authority Olympics I was recently asked to create an infographic of information about the Ol

Data journalism: more than numbers and charts

Data journalism: more than numbers and charts
    I have been a Visiting Tutor at Birmingham City University on and off for more than a year, but today I experienced that mythical "sense of satisfaction" that teachers talk about. I held a short data visualization workshop for some 2nd year Online Journalism students today  - who were incredibly hungry for the information. For the past few weeks they had been gathering spreadsheets and reports and were now desperate for interesting w...

The Age You’re Most Likely to Win a Brit Award

The Age You’re Most Likely to Win a Brit Award
Checking the latest data from the Brit Awards (courtesy of the Guardian Data Blog) is seems 24 is the age a musician is most likely to win a Brit Award Since 2005 12 awards have gone to pop stars at this age including Amy Winehouse, Kate Nash and Ellie Goulding. Similarly, Mumford and Sons, Florence and the Machine and JLS all tapped in at this age when they picked up their awards. Could it be down to our education system, 3 years at uni, where t

Actors Working in Teams [infographic]

Actors Working in Teams [infographic]
Sometimes I'll start a data project, and duing the process one of several things may happen: I lose interest something more important comes along I realized it's just not "working" The latter happened as I was working on a piece for the latest Information is Beautiful challenge - which involved chomping through a large and very interesting data set regarding Hollywood movies. These challenges encourage you to use a data set provided by the we...

Who is my data idol?

There must be something in the water .... twice this week I have received emails from online journalism students asking for my thoughts on data journalism - and more specifically, my data idols. The first was an email from Germany - or student Katarina Bons to be precise - asking for information about any studies into data journalism in the UK and who the key players were. During the completion of my final MA Online Journalism project, during a despe

Uni applications drop off – but which subject area is hardest hit?

Uni applications drop off – but which subject area is hardest hit?
Thanks to a hike in tuition fees, there has been a drop off in the numbers of people applying to UK universities, compared to the 2011 figures. Usefully, the Guardian has posted the numbers on their Datablog and I'm starting to munch through the data Here's the first set of findings - by subject area grouped into discipline, thanks to Wikipedia's List of Academic Disciplines

MP’s subsidized dining rooms [visualization]

MP’s subsidized dining rooms [visualization]
So MP's are expected to pay the equivalent of "high street pub" prices when buying food in the subsidized restaurant in House of Commons are they? (Telegraph) Let's see if that's the case. Taking 5 dishes mentioned in the article above - I compared them to an equivalent TYPE of dish at Wetherspoons, Walkabout and All Bar One. (click for larger image) Sources: http://www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk/ http://www.allbarone.co.uk/ http://www.walka

5 ways to gather data

5 ways to gather data
 Caroline Beavon is a freelance information and infographics designer - get in touch for more details Everyone is talking about data journalism nowadays: creating maps, visualizations and infographics. However, before you can do any of that you need some DATA Here is how I sourced the data for my Datamud project, a look at the statistics behind the big UK music music festivals. [toc] 1. SEARCH Official Site The last thing you want t...

Datamud

Datamud
For the past few weeks I have been working on another project for my MA Online Journalism course. This is an investigation into some of the facts and figures of the UK music festivals. The site will be updated over the next few days, so stay tuned and, of cours,e any feedback, much appreciated. http://www.datamudwordpress.com

Another flash project …

Another flash project …
As I gather my portfolio together for my MA Online Journalism Multimedia module, I discovered my first ever Flash project. Sad story, a British student missing in America, where he was studying. I decided to take the facts of the story and turn it into a roll-over breakdown. It's basic, but it works. It still needs an embedded link (to the Facebook group) and some embedded video, but it works as a basic test of the theory. [kml_flashembed publi...

UK Festival headliners map

UK Festival headliners map
[kml_flashembed publishmethod="static" fversion="8.0.0" movie="http://carolinebeavon.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/festivals-map-X.swf" width="550" height="400" targetclass="flashmovie"] [/kml_flashembed] As a keen festival goer, I thought it would be interesting to MAP where some the larger bands can be seen playing this summer. I am hoping to work on a larger version of this map for a later assignment, but this is a taster of what is to com...

Looks like I’m not into metal any more Toto

Looks like I’m not into metal any more Toto
Data can be an interesting and eye opening thing. I decided to cut and paste some sections of my ITunes library into Google Docs and create a data set from Artist Track, Genre and Plays. sort tracks by PLAY COUNT remove TIME, BITRATE, DATE ADDED and TRACK NO columns scroll down to the bottom of the tracks with "2" plays select every song with 2+ plays CTRL+C open a blank spreadsheet (I use Google Docs) and CTRL-V into the top left corner o

Glastonbury data mashup

Glastonbury data mashup
NOTE: This is very much a work in progress, so any advice, feedback or tips, much appreciated! Also some of the data used is from news reports/blogs and hence is of a speculative nature but has been included for demonstrative purposes. As part of my MA Online Journalism I have been playing around with some data from the Glastonbury festival archives. I wanted to show the statistical history of the festival, through a visual media. I started a sp