To effectively execute on the array of use cases that our clients bring to us, we have created a diverse portfolio of data visualization products and tools, and honed a number of processes and approaches, to ensure that they can achieve their desired outcomes.
Addressing the Multitude of Data Visualization Needs & Use Cases
- Let's say an organization is looking for an everyday, low-fidelity solution for the graphs and maps it churns out, so that it can be nimble when communicating facts to constituents via social media or the web. To address this need, we've put together a “design once, use everywhere” methodology that allows for the quick creation of compelling, shareworthy charts that are custom integrated into existing workflows, whether those workflows involve Excel, a CMS like Sitecore or Drupal, or even both. The graphs and maps are automatically styled using the organization's distinct colors, branding, and other chart specifications.
- Alternatively, another organization may need to build something far more customized, curated, and high-fidelity in order to educate the public about an issue, or encourage people to take action based on what they see. To do this, it may want to create a custom visualization that can be used to rise above the digital din. We’ve built an array of such custom data interactives for our clients, on topics ranging from health care to employment. See the 'Custom Visualizations' section below for more details about our work building custom data interactives.
- Or maybe, there is a need to enable audiences to easily create their own visualizations from datasets that can be made available to the public. For that and other use cases where multiple measures are brought together, Davis, which is the data management system we’ve developed, likely addresses these needs.
Davis - Velir's Data Management System
Think of a Content Management System (like Drupal, Wordpress, or Sitecore), except for data; that’s what Davis is.
In addition, Davis is also a framework for building custom web applications on top of data. Take, for example, a website like Kidscount or the AARP’s Data Explorer that enable users to visualize data as maps, graphs, and tables across a wide array of measures, or a tool that makes it easy for users to publish printable fact sheets, such as what kidsdata.org offers on wide-ranging topics related to child well being.
There is no default application that comes with Davis. Instead, it is used as a starting point to build custom, full-featured data applications that address users’ needs and the outcomes that matter to each organization.
Our custom visualizations help clients marshal data to rise above the digital chatter.
Our data clients want to ensure that their investment in collecting and analyzing data is put to good use, by creating visualizations that stand out when they’re ready to publish findings. Velir regularly builds a wide range of such custom visualizations to help our clients humanize data in ways that can educate, persuade, and even entertain users.
We have experience with an array of approaches:
Transforming Data into Intellectual Exercises: Some of our clients recognize the entertainment value of facts, and they opt to create intellectual exercises of data findings. The Commonwealth Fund asked this important question through a visualization that we built: “What Would Happen if Health Care in Your State Improved?” We worked with the foundation to turn this hypothetical question into a concrete exercise, where the user chooses a state and a measure to see how much conditions would improve if their state performed as well as others.
Mapping Data Findings: Maps can be a powerful way to summarize findings — and even tell stories — in ways that draw readers in. We built a map for the Kauffman Foundation that effortlessly tells the story of how some metropolitan areas fare better than others in nurturing startup growth. This map allows you to dig deeper, both by clicking on a marker and via an interactive table that provides more details on the rankings. Another map tool we built — this one for the Citizens’ Committee for the Children of New York — provides a snapshot view of whether community resources in New York City are accessible in areas of most risk to kids. Click on a number to drill down or choose from a long list of resource types via a checklist in the right column.
Engaging Display Types: Beyond maps, an effective hook into a data visualization can be a clever, novel way of graphing findings. We’ve built a wide range of such innovative visualizations, including a color-coded scatter plot for the Commonwealth Fund, an interactive arc of demographic trends for the Population Reference Bureau, and an engaging timeline related to Alzheimer’s research.
Making Large Numbers Seem Relatable: How do we help audiences visually understand the difference between, say, 100,000 and 10 million people? Such numbers can be abstractions to people because they don’t regularly see large numbers in their day-to-day interactions. One client, the communication firm, Purpose, wanted to convey the significance of the roughly 25 million shiftworkers in the United States. To help Purpose convey the magnitude of this number, we built a visualization that shows an array of faces in a cloud of people to convey 25 million. We then zoomed in on particular faces to tell their stories via quotes and videos.
Encouraging User Input: Some of our custom data visualizations encourage readers to explore data on their own as a way to help them obtain findings that will persuade them to take action. Veracode’s Software Security Explorer puts a complex dataset in the hands of novice users, allowing them to easily pinpoint findings by showing software security data by industry and by comparing across a host of dimensions, from coding language to company revenue size.
Interactive Data Reports: Some of our clients have an array of findings they want to share beyond, say, the traditional PDF white paper. Their goal may be to help set the stage and create a compelling and highly visual summary of findings. The Commonwealth Fund took this approach with its 2016 Scorecard on State Health System Performance, as did the Population Reference Bureau with its 2014 report, World Population Data. Reports like these may bring together a number of ways of expressing data — including the ones noted above — to form a larger package of findings.
Our deep knowledge of the tools in this data visualization space — both our tailored products and solutions and what’s available off-the-shelf — means that we can help you find the right hammer for your nail, depending on your use case, budget, and need for customization.
If you have a data visualization or storytelling initiative that you're looking to develop further, or if you would just like to know more about the possibilities in this space, click the button below so that we can get connected and start exploring options together.