Announcing: Wisevis data visualization courses

I’ve been working on a series of short, focused and practical data visualization courses that will be published on wisevis.com, my consulting firm’s site. The plan is to add two new courses each month (minimum), update and move my current dashboard courses and convert my e-books to the online course format. There will be free and paid content.

Course for fun: How to make a pie chart

Pie chart for a data visualization course

I couldn’t resist the temptation of creating a course on How to make a pie chart as a “Hello World!” message. It’s free, so you don’t even need to enroll.

Although it is free and about pie charts, this course shares with other similar courses two key characteristics. First, a generic (meaning tool-agnostic) discussion on the merits and weaknesses of pie charts. Second, a section where you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to make the chart using several tools. I’m starting with two examples for Excel (regular and pivot chart) and I’ll add more soon.

Making complex charts in Excel

Horizon chart in Excel a data visualization course

I like the course structure above, but in some cases the chart is so complex to make using a specific tool that it can’t share a course with other tools. That’s the case with horizon charts.

Since Excel doesn’t support small multiples, the common solution is to make a chart and then clone it. There are several problems with this technique, though. In this course I explore a different approach that allows us to display small multiples using a single chart. Beware: I think it’s worth it, but it’s not for the faint of heart!

Practical data visualization courses

A third group of courses is about practical data visualization: color, design, chart selection. The first course in this group discusses efficiency and specifically how our data and design choices impact the overall chart size. Why is this relevant? Because efficient screen real estate management allows you to design better and more informative dashboards or fit a chart into smaller (think smartphone) screens.

Strip plot in Excel for a data visualization course

Coming soon

There are other key areas I’ll be addressing, like dashboard design, practical approaches to a few areas, like color, or choosing the right chart. The way many Excel users structure their workbooks and their data is painful to see. I want to address that as well, including risk-minimizing strategies (every formula is a potential risk vector.)

Tools

In the data visualization course I used two charts made with Flourish and with Datawrapper. I can’t avoid Excel, but I’ll try to minimize its presence when discussing tool-agnostic concepts. And you’ll find charts made in PowerBI, Tableau, JMP and Charticulator.

Short and specific: low investment in time and money

A word about free and paid content. I’d really like to make all courses freely available. Unfortunately, I can’t afford that (I’m open to suggestions, though).

At first, I wanted to create a large (and necessarily expensive) data visualization course. But I liked the idea of making multiple and very specific courses that require low investment in time and money. They are also more flexible, and it’s easier to change them or add more content depending on user feedback (each course offers a one-year access, including updates).

When more content is available I’ll offer bundles designed around learning paths. A special and limited membership that grants you full access to current and future courses is also available. Contact me if you’re interested.

So, take a look at the courses, and if you have any suggestions or comments, please let me know.

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