Hi. My name is Gary Pritchard. I’m a freelance trainer and consultant, living and working in the UK with private clients and businesses, ranging from one-man-bands through to local government organisations.
My work mainly involves the real-world use of Microsoft Office to communicate clearly and effectively. But I also offer training and support in effective web publishing to a number of clients.
I’ve been working with, and displaying numerical information in various forms since the late 1970s, when I completed my Degree in Physics.
During my working life, I’ve always had to compile, analyse and present numerical data: First as an Electronics Engineer and Project Leader at one of the UK’s largest avionics companies; then in various roles in local government; and now as a Freelance ICT trainer and consultant.
And I’ve learned and become better at it over the years.
In fact, the main inspiration for this website (and my current work) was me, many years ago; and the numerous colleagues and managers I’ve worked with over the years. People who knew their business, maybe even knew the message they wished to deliver, but they weren’t too sure of the best way to deliver it.
What is this website about?
Before I answer that question, let me tell you what this website isn’t.
- It’s not about ‘Big Data’, millions of rows of data, so complex that it’s difficult to process using traditional data processing applications and management tools.
- It’s not about how to make numbers more ‘interesting’.
- And it’s not about using all the latest and greatest chart, graph and diagram types available to the professional data visualisation practitioner.
This website is about ‘Small to Medium Size’ data. Dozen’s, hundreds or maybe thousands of rows of data that you may collect in a small business or as part of a team or project in a larger organisation.
And it’s about how to communicate that data to other people effectively, and how to present the messages and stories those numbers uncover.
The content of this site is based on a range of guidelines that have been developed over the years for presenting text, tables and charts in the most effective manner.
Guidelines that I use when providing visualisations and support for my own clients, and guidelines that I teach in the classroom.
Guidelines based on the work of data visualisation pioneers such as Edward Tufte, and other leaders in the field like Stephen Few.
Who is the website designed for?
It’s written for:
- business managers and administrators
- small business owners
- sales people
- for anybody, in any walk of life, who work with data to some extent and who sometimes need to get across a message effectively using numbers.
So, the site will be most useful to you if, as part of your work, you need to present information to others, either in report form or as presentation slide decks.
And, it will also help if you can perform simple calculations in a spreadsheet application, like sum, count, average, percentage and so on. (Although I should eventually be able to help there as well if you are a bit rusty in that department.)
But, the site probably won’t be that useful to you if you are a data visualisation professional, data scientist, data journalist, data analyst, or anybody else with the word ‘analyst’ in their job title for that matter. You are already likely to know how to do all this stuff and much more.
What software do you use?
The ideas in this website can be applied to any software that can be used for data visualisation and presentation.
However, most of the examples, and practical tutorials, have been created in Microsoft Excel.
Why? Well, it’s because that’s what I use daily, it’s what my clients use, and it’s what I believe most of the target audience for this site will also be using, especially in a business environment.
But I also provide a Useful resources page which lists a few alternative data visualisation tools that you may wish to consider if your needs outgrow that of Excel, or similar spreadsheet applications.
See you on the inside
So, feel free to take a look around the site, where I hope you’ll find information, hints and tips that will help you:
- identify the message in your data that you want to deliver,
- decide how your information should be best represented, and
- use straightforward design rules to help deliver the message clearly.
But if you have any questions about the content, please don’t hesitate to Contact me, and I’ll do my best to answer your query.