How do you get better feedback?

When it comes to producing data visualisations or media content, the feedback that I receive varies depending on the context and subject. I would have people say “I like how you’ve written this paragraph” or others would say “This viz needs a complete revamp, I don’t like it at all.”

That’s all well and good but there’s a part of me that wants to develop into an improved version of myself is asking that same question “How do you get better feedback?”

It depends. Recently, I have been making a commitment to listen to more podcasts relating to data visualisation and Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic’s Storytelling with Data Podcast has been the foundation towards this post. It does depend on the type of data you have and how you are communicating a viz or a piece of content to your audience.

If I’m visualising data, I have to ask myself two questions. One being “What am I trying to communicate with the data?” and secondly “Why should my audience care?” Those basic storytelling principles are really important when it comes to creating visually appealing vizzes or in the media, engaging content.

Going back a few weeks to my Rallye Monte Carlo viz, I learned how important it was to get excellent, constructive feedback. The funny thing is I asked someone who had no knowledge of Tableau or data visualisation to critique it and having that human input makes a big difference from turning a cluttered viz into an excellent one.


Rallye Monte Carlo


Rallye Monte Carlo final iteration

In all honesty, getting feedback can be tricky. I’m quite fortunate to have the Tableau and Makeover Monday community on social media, as well as my friends to critique my work in a dataviz or media context. Dedicating the time to making the changes is hard but the rewards are huge.

One improvement that I am making a commitment on is to ask more often for better feedback on social media and in person. The only way you are going to become an exceptional media producer, journalist or data analyst is to politely come up to people and get constructive feedback.

That’s what happened at the relaunch of BrumTUG on the 1 February 2018. I produced a Bump Chart on the Commonwealth Games on the Top 10 Nations from 1978-2014. When I presented my result from the Hackathon to my audience, the feedback I had gave me the confidence I needed when it came to producing similar charts of this nature.

BrumTUG - Hackathon

My parting message on “How do you get better feedback?” is it depends. However, don’t be afraid to seek feedback as it can be useful for personal and professional development in data visualisation, Tableau, media and journalism. Never give up and always strive to be the best possible version of yourself!

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