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Case studies

What is good visualisation?
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Good visualisation can help users explore and understand data, and also communicate that understanding to others. In this guide, we explore the principles of what makes good visualisation.
Practical steps for improving visualisation
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In this guide, we set-out 13 practical steps for good visualisation. Some of the steps are straightforward to implement, for example ensuring that you are not using 3D effects that hide the data. Others require more work, for example testing your visualisation with key audiences. For each, we show before and after visualisations.
How is data visualised in key local strategy documents?
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In this case study, we look at three key local strategy documents required by central government, and how they use visualisation to present data. We identify the level of visualisation used in each type of document, and highlight good practice visualisation examples used in different areas.
A brief review of online visualisation tools that can help
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There is a growing range of online tools to help users upload and visualise their data. This brief review highlights four online visualisation tools that can help - Many Eyes, Gapminder, MapTube and Swivel. The links page also links to lots more useful resources.
Visualising uncertainty
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Data values are not 'certain', and there is (almost always) some degree of uncertainty. For example, survey values are usually provided with Confidence Intervals showing the likely range of the data values. Visualisations can show uncertainty alongside data values, for example presenting the Confidence Intervals to indicate the range within which a survey result might lie. This visualisation of uncertainty can help with both analysing the data, and communicating results.
Visualising key employment indicators for decision-makers and public
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South Tyneside is amongst the Local Authorities with the highest levels of unemployment in the country, and worklessness is locally a top priority. Good reporting on the issue is important for senior members and officers in the partnership, as well as to the public and local media. This case study highlights the development of the 'South Tyneside Employment News' Excel tool to visualise key datasets for a range of non-technical audiences.
Visualising the Output Area Classification
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Geodemographics have long been used by major retailers to understand their customers, and some councils are already using commercial neighbourhood classifications to better understand their areas and citizens. There is also a freely available open-source alternative created by the Office for National Statistics and Leeds University - the Output Area Classification (OAC). This case study shows some of ways that OAC can be visualised in order to analyse the make-up of communities within a particular area.