Supporting the Development of the Forum Guide to Data Visualization

Forum Data Visualization cover page

Quality Information Partners (QIP) provided a full range of support for the creation of the Forum Guide to Data Visualization.

The guide explains how creating customized, audience-specific data visualizations can become a vital component of a broader organization-wide data analysis and communications strategy for the National Forum on Education Statistics (the Forum). Data visualization is the art of presenting information in a way that is not only accurate, reliable, timely, and appropriately comprehensive, but also understandable and actionable for each of the intended audiences. When appropriately applied, the data visualization approaches described in the document can improve a data consumer’s ability to understand and analyze data, extract information, and use that information to make data-driven decisions.

First, local and state members of the Forum convened a Data Visualization Working Group for the project. They then compiled recommended data visualization practices, to help education agencies communicate data meaning in visually appealing formats that are accessible, accurate, and actionable for a wide range of stakeholders. The resulting resource is designed for staff in education agencies, but many of the visualization principles apply to other fields as well.

“QIP’s team of designers created 30 diverse examples of data visualization that are discussed in detail in the document.”

QIP supported this project from inception to completion, including in the areas of stakeholder engagement, writing, editing, graphic design, and dissemination. The publication

  • introduces the concept of data visualization;

  • describes how data visualization can improve how education data are viewed, analyzed, communicated, and understood;

  • describes data visualization principles and practices that can be applied to education data;

  • and explains how the data visualization process can be implemented throughout an education agency.

The content for the guide was culled from the collective experiences of the Forum’s Working Group. QIP supported the efforts of the Working Group by conducting background research on the topic; coordinating and supporting Working Group meetings; and organizing and synthesizing information to develop the guide. The production process involved compiling suggested content from the Working Group, then outlining, writing, and revising it for Working Group members to build upon.

QIP’s team of designers created 30 diverse examples of data visualization that are discussed in detail in the document. The team also created the document’s cover and established the overall design of the publication.

After the full Forum membership reviewed and approved the Forum Guide to Data Visualization, QIP formatted the document in Adobe InDesign and established Section 508 compliance (accessibility) using Adobe Acrobat. The final product was published on the Forum’s website. QIP also developed a blog post, a PowerPoint presentation, and a one-page flyer to promote the guide.

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