Know Your Data Viz User

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Data Viz UX, Episode 2

UX is a hip (if inexact) acronym for user experience. As I explained in last week’s data tip, it’s about how user-friendly a product or service is. In that tip, I promised to show you how to apply some UX tips to keep your viewers awake, engaged, and wielding data from the data visualizations (aka data viz) you create. It involves knowing your users, choosing the right data, choosing the right viz, refining the viz, and testing it.

Today’s topic: knowing your users. I will offer brief tips on the other topics in the weeks to come. To know your data viz user, answer the following questions:

Who are they? Your intended user can range from just yourself to all living sentient beings. Answer this question as exactly as possible.

What do they want to know? What decisions are they looking to make? Are they monolithic or diverse in their interests?

How engaged are they? Do they have a deep or casual interest in the topic? Or somewhere in between?

What do they already know? Consider how savvy they are both about the topic and about data analysis. While you don’t want to assume too much knowledge, you don’t want to patronize either.

With a clear picture of your intended users in mind, you are ready to consider what data to present. Stay tuned. That’s next week’s tip.

See other data tips in this series for more information on how to effectively visualize and make good use of your organization's data.