PICA Protocol: A Visualization Prescription for Impactful Data Storytelling – Whiteboard Friday
Posted by means of Lea-Pica
For those who in finding your shows are ceaselessly met with a lukewarm reception, it is a certain signal it is time so that you can make investments on your knowledge storytelling. By way of following a couple of sensible laws, a structured technique to knowledge visualization may just make the entire distinction in how stakeholders obtain and act upon your insights. On this version of Whiteboard Friday, we are overjoyed to welcome knowledge viz skilled Lea Pica to percentage her strategic technique for developing extremely efficient charts.
Hi, Moz enthusiasts. Welcome to every other version of Whiteboard Friday. I am right here to speak to you this week a couple of extremely popular subject within the virtual advertising and marketing area. So my title is Lea Pica, and I’m a knowledge storytelling teacher, trainer, speaker, blogger, and podcaster at LeaPica.com.
I need to let you know somewhat tale. In order 12 years I spent as a virtual analyst and SEM, I used to give insights so much, however not anything ever came about on account of it. Folks fell asleep or by no means answered. No motion used to be being taken. So I determined to determine what used to be taking place, and I discovered a lot of these nice methods for doing it.
What I discovered in my adventure is that efficient knowledge visualization communicates a tale temporarily, obviously, correctly, and ethically, and it had actually 4 major targets — to tell choices, to encourage motion, to impress folks, and most significantly to keep up a correspondence the worth of the paintings that you just do.
Now, there are many issues you’ll be able to do, however I used to be suffering to seek out one explicit procedure that used to be going to lend a hand me get from what I used to be seeking to keep up a correspondence to getting folks to behave on it. So I advanced my very own technique. It is referred to as the PICA Protocol, and it is a visualization prescription for impactful knowledge storytelling. What I love about this protocol is that it is sensible, approachable. It isn’t sophisticated. It is prescriptive, and it is repeatable. I imagine it is going to get you the place you want to head each time.
So let’s assume one in all your managers, purchasers, stakeholders is calling you for one thing like, “What are our maximum a success keyword teams?” One thing delightfully imprecise like that. Now, sooner than you soar into your knowledge visualization platform and get started shedding charts adore it’s scorching, I need you to take a step again and get started with step one within the procedure, which is P for function.
P for Function
So I discovered that each nice knowledge visualization began with an overly centered query or questions.
- Why do you exist? Get philosophical with it.
- What want of my target audience are you assembly?
- What choices are you going to tell?
Those questions mean you can get actually centered about what you’ll provide and keep away from such a needle in a haystack technique to seeing what may stick.
So the solutions to those questions are going that can assist you make the most important determination, to select an acceptable chart sort for the message that you are seeking to put across. One of the vital techniques you wish to have to do this — I pay attention you guys are like into key phrases somewhat bit — you wish to have to pay attention for the key phrases of what persons are asking you for. So on this case, now we have “maximum a success.” Ok, that signifies a comparability. Differing kinds or campaigns or teams, the ones are classes. So it feels like what we are going for is a specific comparability. There are different varieties of key phrases you’ll be able to search for, like converting through the years, how this impacts that. Solutions or evaluations. All of the ones are going that can assist you resolve your maximum suitable visible.
Now, on this case, now we have a specific comparability, so I at all times return to fundamentals. It is an oldie however goodie, however we are going to do the tried-and-true bar chart. It is universally understood and does not have a finding out curve. What I might now not counsel are pie charts. No, no, no. Except you handiest have two segments on your visible and one is unmistakably higher than the opposite, pie charts aren’t your best option for speaking specific comparability, composition, or rating.
I for Perception
So now we have our selection. We are now going to transport directly to your next step within the technique, which is I for perception. So an perception is one thing that provides an individual a capability to grasp one thing temporarily, correctly, and intuitively. Recall to mind the ones standards.
So right here, does my show floor the tale and resolution those questions intuitively? That is our standards. The elements of which might be:
- Layout and orientation. So how is the chart configured? Very ceaselessly we’re going to use vertical bar charts for specific comparability, however that can finally end up having diagonal labels if they are actually lengthy, and except your target audience walks round like this always, it is going to be complicated as a result of that will be bizarre. So you wish to have to verify it is orientated neatly.
- Labeling. With regards to bars, I at all times wish to label each and every bar immediately moderately than depending on simply an axis, as a result of then their eyes don’t seem to be leaping from bar to axis to bar to axis and they are paying extra consideration to you. That is additionally for line charts. Very ceaselessly I’m going to label a line with a most, a minimal, and perhaps a very powerful knowledge level.
- Interpretation of the knowledge and the place we are putting it, the site.
- So our interpretation, is it purpose or is it subjective? So subjective phrases are like higher or worse or silly or superior. The ones are evaluations. However purpose phrases are upper, decrease, most productive, least environment friendly. So that you actually need your observations to be purpose.
- Have you ever introduced it ethically? Or have you ever manipulated the view in some way that is not telling a actually moral image, like adjusting a bar axis above 0, which is a no-no? However you’ll be able to do this with a line graph in positive circumstances. So search for the ones nuances. You need to principally ask your self, “Would I be capable to uphold this visible in a court docket of legislation or sleep at evening?”
- Location of that perception. So very ceaselessly we’re going to put our insights, our interpretation down right here or in actually tiny letters up right here. Then up right here we’re going to put large letters announcing that is gross sales, my keyword class. No. What we need to do is we need to put our interpretation up right here. This most sensible space is a very powerful actual property to your visible. That is the place their eyes are going to appear first. So bring to mind this like a BuzzFeed headline on your visible. What do you wish to have them to remove? You’ll be able to at all times put what the chart is right here in somewhat subtitle.
- Make suggestions. As a result of that is what a actually robust visible goes to do.
- I at all times recommend having two suggestions no less than, as a result of this fashion you might be empowering your target audience with a decision. This manner you’ll be able to in reality be subjective. This is k on this case, as a result of that is your distinctive subject material experience.
- Are your suggestions responsible to express folks? Are they possible?
- What is the price of now not performing to your suggestions? Put some urgency at the back of it. So I love to place my suggestions in somewhat field or callout at the facet right here so it is actually transparent after I have introduced my info.
C for Context
The next move within the technique is C for context. What that is announcing is, “Do I’ve the entire knowledge issues I wish to paint a whole image, or is there extra to this tale?” So some further lenses you could in finding helpful are previous length comparability, objectives or benchmarks are helpful, segmentation, such things as geography, cellular tool. Or what are the everyday questions or arguments that your target audience has while you provide knowledge? They are able to be tremendous worth contextual issues.
On this case, I may make a decision that whilst they care in regards to the collection of gross sales, as a result of that is maximum a success to them, I care in regards to the key phrases “conversion charges.” So I will upload a 2d bar chart right here like this, and I will see there is a other tale that is coming out right here now.
Now, that is the place your knowledge storytelling actually comes into play. This actual technique is known as a desk lens or a side-by-side bar chart. It is what I like to recommend if you wish to mix two specific metrics in combination.
A for Aesthetics
Now, the remaining step within the technique is A for aesthetics. Aesthetics are how issues glance. So it is not about making it glance beautiful. No, it is asking, “Does my viz conform to mind easiest practices of ways we soak up knowledge?”
1. Lower visible noise
So step one in doing this is we need to lower visible noise, as a result of that creates a large number of stress. So lowering noise will build up the danger of a contented mind.
Now, I am a crunchy granola hippie, so I like to detox on a daily basis. I have advanced a knowledge visualization detox that involves putting off such things as grid traces, borders, axis traces, line markers, and backgrounds. Get all of that junk out of there, actually blank up. You’ll be able to align the whole lot to the left to ensure that the mind is following issues correctly down. Do not heart the whole lot.
2. Use uniform colours (plus one standout colour for emphasis)
Now, you’ll be able to understand that almost all of my bars right here have a uniform colour — easy black. I love to paint the whole lot one colour, as a result of then I’m going to use a separate, standout colour, like this blue, to strategically emphasize my key message. Chances are you’ll understand that I did that all through this step for the phrases that I need you to select. That is why I coloured those explicit bars, as a result of this seems like the tale to me, as a result of that’s the storytelling a part of this message.
Realize that I additionally coloured the class in my commentary to create a connective tissue between those two pieces. So the usage of colour deliberately method such things as the usage of inexperienced for excellent and crimson for unhealthy, now not arbitrarily, after which perhaps blue for what is vital.
three. Supply your knowledge
Then in the end, you at all times need to supply your knowledge. That will increase the believe. So you wish to have to place your platform and your date vary. In point of fact easy.
So that is the anatomy of an important knowledge viz. I have tailored it from a super guide referred to as “Excellent Charts” by means of my good friend, Scott Berinato. What I’ve discovered that by means of the usage of this protocol, you’ll finally end up with those superb, raving enthusiasts who’re going to like your paintings and perceive your worth. I incorporated somewhat kitty fan as a result of I will. It is my Whiteboard Friday.
So that’s the protocol. I in reality have incorporated a unfastened present for you as of late. For those who click on the hyperlink on the finish of this publish, you are able to join a Chart Detox Tick list, a complete printable PICA Protocol prescription and a Chart Opting for Information.
I might in reality love to listen to from you. What are the varieties of struggles that you’ve in presenting your insights to stakeholders, the place you simply really feel like they are now not getting the worth of what you might be doing? I might love to listen to any questions you’ve got in regards to the technique as neatly.
So thanks for staring at this version of Whiteboard Friday. I’m hoping you loved it. We’re going to see you subsequent week, and please consider to viz responsibly, my buddies. Namaste.
Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you at the most sensible ten freshest items of search engine optimization information, pointers, and rad hyperlinks exposed by means of the Moz group. Recall to mind it as your unique digest of things you shouldn’t have time to seek down however need to learn!