How to Become a True Dataviz Pro


Many analytics, data science and AI initiatives involve presenting data to stakeholders in charts, however, many charts are poorly designed and leave audiences confused, unmoved, or misled—even when the chart creator wasn’t trying to confuse or mislead anyone. Even charts from high tech companies, universities, government agencies and major news media outlets often suffer these fates.

Why do charts so frequently flop with audiences? Often, the reasons are surprisingly mundane: poor chart type choices, poor scale formatting choices, poor color choices, and a host of other basic design problems. These charts are like potentially great documents that a ruined by basic spelling and vocabulary mistakes.

Like any other language, the language of data visualization has a “spelling and vocabulary,” that is, a set of skills and best practices that must be learned in order to communicate effectively in that language. The “spelling and vocabulary of data visualization” includes knowing how to choose chart types, scale ranges, and colors (among many other design choices), as well as knowing how to make charts obvious by highlighting key elements, adding key insights as chart titles and annotations, and adding comparison or reference values. If a chart creator hasn’t learned these basic skills, they’re at high risk of producing ineffective (and potentially misleading) charts.

In this eye-opening talk, globally recognized data visualization educator and best-selling author Nick Desbarats explains exactly what it takes to learn the basic “spelling and vocabulary of data visualization,” and how to become a true data visualization pro, able to design clear, compelling charts every time.

Background Knowledge:

Attendees should have experience creating basic charts in a data visualization application (Excel, Tableau, Qlik, etc.)


As an independent educator and best-selling author, Nick Desbarats has taught data visualization and information dashboard design to thousands of professionals in over a dozen countries at organizations such as NASA, Bloomberg, Visa, The United Nations, Shopify, The Internal Revenue Service, and The Central Bank of Tanzania.

Nick is the author of the Amazon #1 New Release “Practical Charts” (2023) and the upcoming “Practical Dashboards” (2024) books, and he regularly contributes articles to The Journal of the Data Visualization Society (Nightingale) that are among that publication’s most widely read and shared. He also regularly delivers main-stage talks at conferences such as Tableau Conference, TDWI World Conference, SAS Explorers, Data Innovation Summit, and others, and has lectured at Yale University, The University of Toronto, and The Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand).
Nick was the first and only educator to be authorized by Stephen Few to deliver his foundational data visualization and dashboard design workshops, which he taught from 2014 until launching his own workshops in 2019. Prior to that, he held senior executive positions at several software companies and was a cofounder of BitFlash Inc., which raised over $20M in venture financing and was sold to OpenText Corporation. In 2012, Nick was granted a United States patent in the decision-support field.

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