One of the traditions on this blog is an annual review of Data Visualisation Award Winners.

Since 2015, I have shared blog posts reviewing my pick from Data Viz award winners in 2016, 2017 & 2018. There are a growing number of Data Visualisation contests these days, but I am still a fan of the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards.

These awards were kicked off by David McCandless in 2012, himself a Data Viz expert well worth following., in partnership with the Creative Director of Kantar. The combination of expert judges and public votes also help protect the quality & relevance of the winners chosen.

So, I continue to recommend that delegates on my Data Visualisation training courses check out these awards annually.

Data Visualisation winners can help you improve

Being inspired by the creativity of these examples, as well as the types of charts used for other types of data, can keep inspiring your own test & learn. We all learn by doing. So, I recommend you review the winners who caught my eye and select at least one to inspire changes you can make in your own work.

This Data Visualisation contest identifies Gold, Silver & Bronze winners for each category. The categories evolve over the years, but in recent years represent different areas of interest. So there are examples of visualising data from topics as diverse as News to Entertainment and Sport to Humanitarian. Plus, identifying inspiring individuals, teams and unusual data viz approaches.

Over two posts, I will pick out those winners I would like to highlight. My selections are inspired by two principles. Firstly, I find the data visualisation creative & inspiring as an example of a different approach. Secondly, the example is useful for those working in a business. Even if it is not directly relevant, it is one I believe could inspire practical improvements you could make to your own charts.

The Infographic Bible

This data visualisation is a whole book produced by Karen Sawrey and her team. A number of things inspired me from this beautiful artefact. It was the Bronze prize winner in the Arts, Entertainment & Culture category.

Firstly, it is bringing to life text data that we have had for millennia. Imagining new ways to reveal patterns and themes in the biblical narrative with data visualisations. I hope a number of examples inspire data artists inside businesses to revisit the potential power of text analytics & then visualisation.

Secondly, many of the example in this book were created through a combination of using MS Excel and Adobe Suite tools. So, they are potentially within the reach of mainstream analysts for whom data visualisation is only a part of their role.

Lastly, the benefit of creating a desirable object, like this beautiful ‘coffee table‘ book. I have shared before that one of the ways to increase your influence as a Customer Insight leader is to create demand. A method that works well for this is to create a desirable object that communicates some key insights & limit the supply to only a few senior stakeholders.

I hope you find this example inspires you too:

Introduction – THE INFOGRAPHIC BIBLE

The Infographic Bible’s aim is to create a visual image, and then support that graphic with text that can be understood by anyone who picks up the book. Each of the designs within The Infographic Bible started with producing data from experts’ knowledge and information.

What People in Switzerland worry about

This example of data journalism explains the many insights into Swiss public opinion from The Worry Barometer. That research has been conducted since 1995 and charts are used to walk us through how concerns have changed over that time. It was the Silver winner in News & Current Affairs category.

My first reason for selecting this example is that beyond its interactivity (embedded within a scrolling webpage) it makes great use of basic charts. Through consistent use of well-designed line & area charts, the viewer is walked through the drivers behind one summary chart.

Secondly, this is a great example of choosing appropriate colour hues to represent different categories. These are then also used consistently throughout other chart forms as a very effective guide to navigation. Simple but worth considering how you could following this example, especially as you drill-down or explain one summary graphic.

I hope you enjoy exploring this article, culminating in an interactive way to present all the answers to the survey:

What people in Switzerland worry about

What are the five biggest problems in Switzerland? Every year, several thousand residents are asked this question in a nationwide poll. Here’s an interactive look at the things that have given the Swiss sleepless nights over the years. Horizontal Line SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

OneSoil the fascinating fields of crops across USA & Europe

This unique interactive map was produced by the OneSoil team, an agency focussed on the application of AI to agriculture. It was the bronze winner in the Maps, Places & Spaces category.

This is one of those examples of interactive data visualisation and mapping that is just enthralling. You could see yourself getting drawn into hours of exploration and posing questions as a result.

Mapping is such a key aspect to Data Visualisation for many organisations, so I wanted to include a strong example in this curation. There are many aspects to praise and highlight in this data visualisation, but for this post, I’ll suggest just two.

Firstly, it is a good example of using a consistent and powerful navigation panel to the left of the interactive map. The dynamic nature of this panel means it is always context-relevant as you pan, zoom & explore this map. That feature helps simplify what could otherwise be too cluttered a menu.

Another praiseworthy feature is the volume of data or granularity of map presented. Too many mapping visualisations fall victim to insights or interesting outliers being lost in the averages. By including low-level detail that can still be effectively visualised at the macro, you encourage user exploration. Switching from Dot Maps to field-level Choropleths at an appropriate level of detail works well. Effective colour choice is once again important too.

If you live in the USA, UK or Europe, enjoy exploring the character of the agricultural fields near you & seeing them in the wider context:

OneSoil Map

Meet the 1st interactive map that allows you to get agricultural insights about EU and US fields and crops.

Which 2019 Data Visualisation winner will inspire you?

I hope you found those 3 examples useful. I will select 3 more in my next post reviewing these fabulous awards.

But for now, I encourage you to turn your attention to applications. Given the examples I have shared above & what I’ve praised in them, what will you do?

How could you improve your own Data Visualisations in line with some of those themes? Why not get started as soon as possible…