Our article about Genchi Genbutsu was an extract from our in-house onboarding flow, which all new team members follow when they join us. It received so much positive feedback, we’ve decided to publish more, as a mini-series. This article introduces the…
The following is an extract from the Conversion Rate Experts Company Manual, which all our team members go through when they join Conversion Rate Experts. We hope you find it useful. 現地現物 (pronounced “Genchi Genbutsu”) is Japanese for “Go and See.” The…
To write copy that sells, do you need a good vocabulary? Some people say it isn’t. They say that good writing uses words that are simple, and everyone knows all the simple words. There are indeed many obscure words like furnish that can almost a…
Here are some great resources we have recently shared with one another (We don’t profit from recommending things. We just love sharing things that have improved our lives.) Create great-looking forms, quickly, using Typeform’s templates We have recomme…
Here are some great resources we have recently shared with one another (We don’t profit from recommending things; we just love sharing things that have improved our lives.) Become an expert in typography in ten minutes Matthew Butterick’s Practical Typ…
We’ve created an audiobook version of our best-selling book. And as an experiment, we’ve decided to give it away as a free podcast. See how to get the audiobook podcast
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A few months ago I had the opportunity to chat with my friend and work partner Feras Alhlou, Co-Founder and Principal Consultant at E-Nor & Co-Author of Google Analytics Breakthrough. Feras and I have known each other for almost 10 years, and it is…
A few months ago I had the opportunity to chat with my friend and work partner Feras Alhlou, Co-Founder and Principal Consultant at E-Nor & Co-Author of Google Analytics Breakthrough. Feras and I have known each other for almost 10 years, and it is always great to hear more about the work that he and his first-class team are doing.
Here are the questions we discussed, checkout the answers in the video below. I have also added some of my favorite highlights from the interview after the video.
- [01:05] What's the process that you use to make sense out of data?
- [02:41]During this process, what do you actually do when you start working with data?
- [04:07]When analyzing data, how can we make sure that we are looking at the context to understand what is happening around us?
- [07:24]How can Data Studio and better data visualizations help companies make more data-driven decisions?
We believe analytics is a business process. We start with an audit, both from the business side and the technical side - we want to engage the stakeholders to understand how to measure what matters most to the business. Once we have the data in place, we go to the reporting layer - how do we report on this data? Then, we start to be able to analyze the data and find some actionable insights. Last, we can move to testing and personalization - that's when you really can have an impact on the business. Read more about E-Nor's Optimization Framework
There's a whole lot of data these days, right? Life used to be simple for marketers: one device, a few channels - now there's data everywhere, mobile, social, web, and of course backend data. I think one of the first things we need to do is to understand the context around that data, focusing on the following:
- The integrity of the data: is it clean, was it collected properly, is it raw or aggregated? Understand the data collection, how the data was put together.
- Having a set of meta data, information about the data: if you're looking at Google Analytics metrics, knowing more about the user. For example, if you have a subscription based model: Is it a premium user? Is it a standard user? Having that additional data gives a whole lot of context, to the person who's consuming that data.
I would definitely advice to have a data road map. Start with what you own, web and mobile analytics data. Then, start augmenting reports with basic social data, maybe you can get a little bit into the qualitative aspect with that. And last but not least, a great product that was recently introduced by Google as the Surveys product. There are surveys we can do on our own properties to understand the voice of the customer. But also use it to do market research - it used to be expensive and cumbersome to do it, but now you can easily run a Google survey and do a lot targeting.
And here is Feras and me having fun in the Google Analytics studio!
I have always appreciated the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it is really amazing to see people working so hard to make the world a better place. But I was left speechless when I opened their new report: GoalKeepers 2017. It tells the s…
I have always appreciated the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it is really amazing to see people working so hard to make the world a better place. But I was left speechless when I opened their new report: GoalKeepers 2017. It tells the stories behind the data to help "accelerate progress in the fight against poverty by helping to diagnose urgent problems, identify promising solutions, measure and interpret key results, and spread best practices".
First and foremost, the goals themselves are superb - I can't think of more important issues to fight for. But I was also impressed by the information design, it is spotless. They used the right medium for each piece of information: text, images, videos, animations and charts. The report is engaging and, before you realize, you spent an hour going through it. So I was touched both as a person that cares about what is happening around me and as a professional appreciating good work.
Interestingly, a few months ago I was looking for some data to build a sample report, and I chose the maternal mortality dataset from UNICEF's data portal. I built the report and used it, but didn't take the time to publish it - ever heard of procrastination? :-)
In this article I will provide more context into GoalKeepers 2017 using publicly available UNICEF data on maternal mortality. I'll start with some words about the GoalKeepers 2017 report - then, I'll discuss some of the steps I used to create my report and the insights I learned from the data.
Stories behind the data: maternal mortality in Ethiopia
One of the highlights that I found particularly interesting in GoalKeepers 2017 was the maternal mortality case study, focusing on how Ethiopia is fighting this terrible issue. Here is how Bill and Melinda define it.
"If you were trying to invent the most efficient way to devastate communities and put children in danger, you would invent maternal mortality." Bill and Melinda Gates
Most people would agree that mothers are probably the most important pillar for a child (I'm a father, and I think fathers are important too, but as my mom always says: "you will never be a mother!"). So it is devastating to learn that in 2015, UNICEF registered 302,530 maternal deaths due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth - 168.7 deaths per 100,000 live births. And remember that a mother's death does not mean one child left motherless, women can already have many more children when it happens.
However, as GoalKeepers 2017 shows, we've made some great progress, and the trends look good. In their case study, they show how Ethiopia is taking giant steps on their fight against maternal mortality, and the chart they used is simple and powerful: mortality went from 843 to 357 per 100,000 from 1990 to 2015 - that's great!
But in order to understand our global status better, it is important to put more context into the mix: what's happening around the world? And how does Ethiopia compare to other places?
Maternal Mortality around the world
To have a better understanding of how both Ethiopia and the world in general is progressing, I took a deeper look in the maternal mortality dataset from UNICEF's statistics website. The data is publicly available, well organized, and it seems trustworthy. I downloaded the xlsx file and formated it for Data Studio using this spreadsheet; then, I imported it to Data Studio (learn how).
Below you'll find my data visualization embedded, scroll down to read some of my conclusions based on the data.
I know, the horizontal bar chart goes on forever! But I think it gives an interesting perspective.
Disclosure: I do not pretend to be a specialist in global health, my knowledge about the efforts in the area are minimal. The insights below are based on the data only - I'm assuming UNICEF publishes accurate and unbiased data. With that said, I hope it will help people understand better the status and trends of maternal mortality around the world.
Here are my insights on maternal mortality based on UNICEF's data.
- Amazing progress - but not solved: out of 183 countries in the data, only 13 are worse off in 2015 compared to 1990. The trajectory is mostly good - globally, we saw a decrease from 339 to 168 in maternal mortality rate, an average of 44% decrease. For context, Ethiopia's rate decreased by 71%, significantly better than the average. However, it is clear from the map that Africa is bleeding, with Sierra Leone losing 1,360 for 100,000 giving birth - that's very bad.
- United States and South Africa have alarming trends: both countries are among the top 10 countries in the 'getting worse' table (sorted by 1990-2015 % change) - South Africa had an absolute 1,500 deaths and USA 550, that's a lot of loss. Even though they don't have the highest rates, it is quite alarming to see the negative trends and absolute numbers. For more on the USA trend check this article, which discusses possible reasons and links to more in-depth analyses.
- Cambodia and Turkey up-and-to-the-right, but still a lot of deaths: both countries have shown great progress, appearing in the top 10 'getting better' table - but they still need a big push, especially Cambodia.
I think those are interesting points to think about as we continue fighting this horrible issue - the more data (and analyses) we have, the more prepared we will be. If you are looking for a place to start, UNICEF has a lot of interesting datasets in their data portal. Let's help make the world a better place!
Last year I wrote about the Marvel vs. DC war on the big screen. It was super fun to merge two of my passions (data visualization and comics) in one piece. It started with my curiosity to understand what all those movies are amounting to, and I think i…
Last year I wrote about the Marvel vs. DC war on the big screen. It was super fun to merge two of my passions (data visualization and comics) in one piece. It started with my curiosity to understand what all those movies are amounting to, and I think it helped me prove a point: Marvel is kinda winning :-)
One of the things that annoyed me was that I had to link to the interactive visualization, readers couldn't see the amazing charts in my article (!) - so I ended up including static screenshots with some insights explained through text. While some people clicked through to play with the data, I suspect many just read the piece and went away, which is suboptimal - when I publish a story, my goal is to allow readers to interact with it quickly and effectively.
I am extremely excited that now Google Data Studio allows users to embed reports in any online environment, which empowers us to create an improved experience for telling stories with data. This feature will be an essential tool for data journalists and analysts to effectively share insights with their audiences.
A year has passed since I did the Marvel vs. DC visualization, so I thought it was time to update it (5 new movies!) and share some insights on how to use Data Studio report embedding to create effective data stories.
The first step to embed reports is a pretty important one: enable embedding! This is quite simple to do:
- Open the report and click on File (top left)
- Click on Embed report
- Check Enable embedding and choose the width and height of your iframe (screenshot below)
Please note that the embedding will work only for people that have access to the report. If the report is supposed to be publicly available, make sure that you make it viewable to everyone. If the report should be seen only to people in a group, then make sure to update your sharing settings accordingly. Read more about sharing reports on this help center article.
But how do you make sure you are choosing the right sizes? Read on...
Choosing the right visualization sizes
Needless to say, people access websites in all possible device categories and platforms, and we have little control over that. But we do have control over how we display information in different screens. The first obvious recommendation (and hopefully all the Interweb agrees with me) - make your website responsive! I am assuming you have already done that.
On Online Behavior, the content area is 640px wide, so the choice is pretty obvious when Data Studio asks me the width I want for my iframe - make sure you know the width of the content area where the iframe will be embedded. Also, since you want the visualizations to resize as the page responds to the screen size, set your Display mode to Fit to width (option available on Page settings).
Without further ado, here is the full Marvel vs. DC visualization v2!
I personally think the full dataviz looks pretty good when reading on a desktop, I kept it clean and short. However, as your screen size decreases, even though the report iframe will resize the image, it will eventually get too small to read. In addition, I often like to develop my stories intertwining charts and text to make it more digestible. So here is an alternative to embedding the whole thing...
Breaking down your dataviz into digestible insights
As I mentioned, sometimes you want to show one chart at a time. In this case, you might want to create separate versions of your visualization. Below I broke down the full dataviz into small chunks. Note that you will find three different pages in the iframe below, one per chart (see navigation in the bottom of the report)
Right now, you can't embed only one page, which means that if you want to show a specific chart that lives on page 2 of a report you would need to create a new report, but that's a piece of cake :-)
I am looking forward to seeing all the great visualizations that will be created and embedded throughout the web - why not partner with our data to create insightful stories? Let's make our blogs and newspapers more interesting to read :-) Happy embedding!
BONUS: Data Studio is the referee in the Marvel vs. DC fight!
As I was working on my dataviz, I asked my 10yo son (also a comic enthusiast) to create something that I could use to represent it. He created the collage / drawing below, I think it is an amazing visual description of my work :-)