Building a Data Visualization Storyboard: The Problem…

How can we eliminate iterations of work?


Begin building a data visualization storyboard…

If you have heard my “Data Visualization: How to truly tell a great story!” presentation, you will have heard me mention about using a storyboard to get a better understanding of the problem. Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic does a great job of introducing this concept in her book “Storytelling with Data” which is a great read and an excellent reference tool for anyone in the data viz world.

I have adapted to using her basic storyboard as my basis for my development and we will use it today as the foundation of our series.

The basic storyboard.

So today, we will focus on the first sticky…

The Problem

Usually when we get our requirements, it’s just a “build X for me and show me Z.”  And we run off and open our tool of choice and get to work.

But there are so many things we can do right here at this step.  Do we truly know everything that we can?  Are we missing anything?

Let’s start with a little checklist that we can ask the requester to make sure we understand the complete request:

  1. Is this a new development or a modification of another?
  2. What is the intended purpose?
  3. Is this a new problem or long-standing?
  4. What issue specifically prompted the need for this report?
  5. Is the problem multi-faceted?
  6. Is the problem repeatable?
  7. Do we have enough data to support it?
  8. Are we confident in the data?
  9. Can we verify the results?
  10. What is the expected refresh frequency/interval?

These questions should give us a pretty good understanding of what we are working with.  Once we have these questions, we should be able to formulate a short story that can be told back to the requester to ensure we completely understand the problem.

After we have answered these questions, we will have a handle on what we are truly trying to develop.

Stay tuned for the next step on the story board!

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