Episode 22: [Mini] How My Design Process Has Improved Since Episode #1

Photo by  Icons8 team  on  Unsplash

Photo by Icons8 team on Unsplash


Welcome to episode 22 of Data Viz Today. How has my data viz design process changed over the past 5 months? Well, it was pretty non-existent to start with, but after interviewing 20 top data viz designers, I've learned a lot and now have a much more defined design process. I want to share my process and would love to hear what yours is like so we can learn from each other!

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  • Welcome! I'm Alli Torban.

  • 00:40 - Today’s topic: how my workflow has improved over the past almost 5 months of doing this podcast based on what I’ve learned from the designers that I’ve featured.

  • 00:50 - When I first started making data viz on purpose like a year ago, my workflow would go something like… have some data, put it in a chart whose type was determined by my whims, see if I could clutter it up with some color or complexity so it would be more interesting, add a data source at the bottom and done…

  • 01:15 - How are we supposed to know what makes a good data viz workflow? I learn the best by hearing real-life stories and hearing about one person’s experiences, so I wanted to share with you what my data viz process looks like now that I’ve been studying data viz designers and learning about their design process every week for the past almost 5 months. My hope is that it’ll provide some insight or inspiration for your workflow.

  • 02:10 - Here’s my workflow right now (assuming I already have a clean data set and I’m ready to start designing):

  • 02:20 - First step: I write my goal in one sentence, think about the balance I want to strike between attention/beauty, understanding, implication. And write out some descriptive words and motivations of my audience. Referenced: Episode 1 and 6.

  • 03:20 - Second step: Exploring different chart types based on my data. Diagrams that I use: Chart Choosing Diagram by Andrew Abela and data-to-viz website. Then sketch out different options. Referenced: Episode 4

  • 05:03 - Third step: recreate my sketch in a tool/software using a basic chart type. Referenced: Episode 12

  • 05:30 - Fourth step: Add design elements/creativity to try to humanize the data and connect my audience to my story. I use color (Viz Palette tool), visual metaphor, etc. Referenced: Episode 5, 9, 14

  • 07:15 - Fifth step: I add the annotation layer that has a clear visual hierarchy and simplify the viz. Referenced: Episode 7

  • 08:20 - Sixth step: Seek feedback from others. Referenced: Episode 10, 21

  • 10:00 - Seventh step: Step away to get perspective. Referenced: Episode 19

  • 10:21 - There is it! Clearly define my goal, the needs of my audience, explore my chart options based on my data, sketch, make a clear, basic chart, then think about adding creativity and engagement through things like color or visual metaphor as necessary, add my annotation layer, seek feedback, iterate.

  • 10:45 - I fully expect that I’ll be slowly refining and improving this workflow over the next 5 months as well!