Become great at Data presentation and visualization

Online course

By Tim Wilson,

Senior Director of Analytics @ Search Discovery

Course length: 3h 45min

Sign up to All-Access: $289 / month Buy just this program for $299

English subtitles Certificate included

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Drive stakeholders to take action with the results of your reports and analyses

There is a dangerous belief that, because data is objective, it can speak for itself: as long as the charts and tables and slides are accurate, then the analyst’s work is done. This is analogous to stopping and going home after running 25 miles of a race and believing that you have completed a full marathon. What gets delivered in a report or as the result of an analysis, and HOW it gets delivered, is as critical in determining whether stakeholders take action with the information as the underlying analysis itself. More information is generally NOT better. Changing up the data visualizations throughout a presentation primarily just to “mix things up” is a terrible idea.

Presenting “the data” and expecting the stakeholders to draw their own conclusions is a guarantee that they will draw no conclusions at all! The great news is that there are a range of straightforward tips and techniques—grounded in some basic understanding of how the brain processes information—that can be learned and immediately put into practice to ensure that analytics deliverables are clear, understood, and retained by the business stakeholders to whom they are delivered.

Introduction video (4 minutes)

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After taking this course you’ll…

  • Identify the most effective data visualization for any situation so that the information is readily understandable by your target audience
  • Create data visualizations that avoid pitfalls that can introduce confusion and require unnecessary effort for stakeholders to understand and internalize key takeaways
  • Craft a narrative that holds the attention of key stakeholders, while also improving their ability to understand and retain the information being presented.

Skills you will master

Data PresentationData VisualizationAnalysis and reportingData reportsChartsSparklines

Alex B.

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CXL is just the best place to grow for a marketer. I learned more in a few months via CXL than what I learned in 8, 9 months on my own.

This course is essential for you if …

  • You are responsible for analyzing data and presenting the results to peers, executives, or other stakeholders who need to make decisions based on the information you present to them.
  • You want your analyses to be regarded as some of the most valuable work conducted within the organization.
  • You need the skills necessary to improve the actionability of the reports and analyses you develop, as well as the ability to teach others how to develop those same skills.

This course is NOT for you if…

  • Deeply believe that the “data speaks for itself,” so how that data is packaged and presented does not matter.
  • Are already deeply familiar with and actively putting into practice the data visualization and data storytelling best practices established by Edward Tufte, Stephen Few, Dona M. Wong, Nancy Duarte, Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic, and Brent Dykes.
  • You are extremely adept at doing the data crunching while relying on others to determine how best to take the results of that work and communicate it effectively so that the business can actually put it to use.

Tim Wilson

Senior Director of Analytics @ Search Discovery

Tim has been working with digital data full-time since 2001 in a variety of roles: from managing a web analytics platform migration and developing analytics processes as the head of the business intelligence department at a $500 million high tech B2B company; to creating and growing the analytics practices at multiple agencies that worked with a range of large consumer brands; to his current role consulting with the digital analytics teams at Fortune 500 companies on their strategies, processes, and tactics for effectively putting their sales, marketing, customer, and digital data to actionable use.

Your course curriculum

Data presentation and visualization

1 Communication overview

In this lesson, you will learn why data visualization, data storytelling, and effective communication are critical when it comes to effectively delivering analytics information, as well as some of the basics of how the brain works and why that matters.

2 Overview: The brain science of communication

Three types of memory, Gestalt psychology, and examples of reducing cognitive load. Topics covered: There are three types of memory: iconic, short-term, and long-term.The limitations of short-term memory as illustrated by Miller’s Law, and why it is cr

3 Overview: The Cognitive Load of Pie Charts

Among data visualization researchers and experts, pie (and doughnut) charts are universally reviled. In this lesson, we will explore why that is as an introduction to many of the concepts and ideas that are covered throughout the rest of this course. T

4 Data Visualization: Maximizing the Data-Pixel Ratio

Maximizing the data-pixel ratio sounds like an entirely esoteric and theoretical concept, but it is arguably the single data visualization technique that, once practiced and mastered, will have the greatest impact on improving the effectiveness of your

5 Data Visualization: Using Color Sparingly

As computer monitor technology has progressed, we are now at the point where most monitors can display 16.7 million different colors. But, just because you have an effectively infinite variety of colors available to use, doesn’t mean that you should! I

6 Data Visualization: The Importance of the Axes

Axes may seem obvious and mundane, and most data visualization platforms automatically generate them. But, they can be generated poorly, and they can undermine the impact of a data visualization if they are not implemented effectively. Topics covered:

7 Data Visualization: Horizontal Bar Charts for Comparing Categories

When it comes to visualizing categorical data, the horizontal bar chart is often the best choice. In this lesson, we will explore why that is, as well as how multiple horizontal bar charts can be used to provide a clear comparison of multiple metrics a

8 Data Visualization: Line Charts for Visualizing Time-Series

Line charts are one of the most common types of chart, and they are especially good at showing how a metric has changed over time. In this lesson, we will explore the key considerations when it comes to developing a line chart. Topics covered: When lin

9 Data Visualization: Sparklines and Small Multiples

While the default approach for data visualization is “a chart,” sometimes, using multiple charts together is a more effective way to convey information. That’s where sparklines and small multiples come in, which are the topic for this lesson. Topics co

10 Data Visualization: Text as a visualization

Approach metrics written as text as visualizations in and of themselves. Topics covered: How standalone text can be a powerful visualization, and what goes in to ensuring that is the caseUsing text as the primary element in a data visualization in conc

11 Data Visualization: Heatmaps

Heatmaps done well can be an incredibly effective way to represent a single metric across multiple dimensions in a way that enables the audience to quickly see which combinations of dimensions stand out. In this lesson, we will explore when heatmaps ar

12 Data Visualization: Scatterplots

Correlation is not causation, but correlation—the positive, negative, or lack of a relationship between two metrics—can be key to making a specific point. In this lesson, we will explore how to use scatterplots to visualize the relationship between a p

13 Data Visualization: Specialty Charts and Chart Elements

Waterfall charts, boxplots, error bars and more: when adding cognitive load is warranted. Topics covered: How non-standard chart types increase the cognitive load for the audience for the data visualizationWhy increasing the cognitive load can be okay,

14 Data Visualization: Cautionary Charts and Bad Practices

Why 3D charts, stacked charts, bubble charts, and others are generally ill-advised Topics covered: How to assess a visualization to identify where it may be adding unnecessary cognitive load.How to experiment with alternate visualizations and assess th

15 Data Visualization: Dashboard Considerations

There are two types of dashboards. Data visualization conceptscan be applied differently depending on the type. Topics covered: The difference between performance measurement dashboards and analytical interface dashboards.Key considerations when develo

16 Data Visualization: Data Visualization Resources

A review of the key themes throughout these lessons, and resources for learning more Topics covered: A review of the main concepts and considerations for data visualization.Suggested resources for learning more.What we haven’t yet covered: data storyte

17 Data Storytelling: The Power of Narrative

“Storytelling” is not a buzzword: information presented as narrative is more easily understood and more likely to be retained. Topics covered: What data storytelling is, and how “narrative” is at its core.The increase in engagement, retention, and reca

18 Data Storytelling: Know Your Audience, Know Your Goal.

Who are you ultimately targeting, how will you reach them, and what do you expect them to do with the information you present? Topics covered: Key considerations once you identify your core audience.The importance of starting with a desired action.An u

19 Data Storytelling: Establishing a Narrative (and a Flow)

Discovering the narrative before building out the content saves time and increases the ultimate impact. Topics covered: Why the way slide decks typically get produced lead to a meandering and ineffective finished product.How to develop the narrative fo

20 Data Storytelling: McKinsey Titles and Reinforcing Content

The title of the slide is the most dominant position. Use it to maximum effect and then complement it with the content. Topics covered: What a McKinsey Title is and why it is more effective than a typical slide title.Why each slide in a presentation sh

21 Data Storytelling: Data Visualization Tips Apply!

Decluttered slides and brain-friendly data visualizations make for high impact presentations. Topics covered: How maximizing the data-pixel ratio can be applied to slides.How the selective use of color can be used to maximum effect.The importance of in

22 Data Storytelling: Kill the Bullets and Limit the Text

Bullets are bad, despite their proliferation in presentations. And they are unnecessary. Topics covered: Why bullets detract from the effectiveness of slides in a presentationHow to keep text to a minimum, while also selectively using color within text

23 Data Storytelling: Presentations vs. Documents

Live presentations vs. the “leave-behind” version of the presentation vs. presentations never delivered live at all! Topics covered: What Slidedocs are (and how they differ from presentations).How to separate the “leave behind” from the “presented live

24 Data Storytelling: Compelling Imagery

A picture is worth at least 100 words, if not 1,000. Images are an easy and impactful way to support a data story. Topics covered: Why imagery is so effective when it comes to increasing engagement, comprehension, and retention.Tips for quickly finding

25 Data Storytelling: Editing and Rehearsal

Thinking about what you will say for each slide is not rehearsal. Rehearsal is rehearsal, and it is a worthwhile investment of time. Topics covered: The importance of rehearsing a data story before delivering it.How rehearsal of a presentation is part

26 Data Storytelling: Review and Resources for Learning More

A review of the key themes throughout these lessons, and resources for learning more. Topics covered: No data story is perfect. Don’t make that the goal.Every presentation of analysis is an opportunity to learn and improve.Resources for learning more.

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Learn Data Presentation: FAQ

Who is this course for?

This course is right for you if…

  • You are responsible for analyzing data and presenting the results to peers, executives, or other stakeholders who need to make decisions based on the information you present to them.
  • You want your analyses to be regarded as some of the most valuable work conducted within the organization.
  • You need the skills necessary to improve the actionability of the reports and analyses you develop, as well as the ability to teach others how to develop those same skills.

Some careers that will especially benefit from this course are data analyst, digital marketing specialist, product marketer, SEO specialist, web analytics consultant, ecommerce manager, and digital analytics specialist.

What will you learn?

After taking this course, you will:

  • Identify the most effective data visualization for any situation so that the information is readily understandable by your target audience
  • Create data visualizations that avoid pitfalls that can introduce confusion and require unnecessary effort for stakeholders to understand and internalize key takeaways
  • Craft a narrative that holds the attention of key stakeholders, while also improving their ability to understand and retain the information being presented

What does the course include?

Our Data Visualization & Presentation training includes 5 lessons, 7 downloadable resources, 5h 40min of video material, several assignments, and a final exam.

Are subtitles available for the lessons?

Lessons have English subtitles and transcriptions available.

Will I receive a certificate of completion?

After taking this course, you will receive the Data Visualization & Presentation Certification from CXL, with credentials that you can add to your LinkedIn profile.

What is the refund policy?

All plans come with a 7-day refund period .

How long will it take for me to finish it?

This is entirely up to you – it’s how many study hours per week you can put in. This course is 5h 40min long.