Start Here: Data Visualization Basics—How to Tell the Story Effectively

Session Number: 8543
Track: EPM Reporting, BI Analytics, and Data Visualization
Sub-Categorization: Data Visualizations
Session Type: Best Practices
Primary Presenter: Helen J. Sanders [Assistant Director - Temple University]
Time: Jun 26, 2019 (09:00 AM - 10:00 AM)
Room: 619, Level 6

Speaker Bio: Helen Sanders is a seasoned professional with over 21 years of experience in the IT industry. She worked as a database developer first on an IBM mainframe writing COBOL for several years before her employer, Temple University, moved to an ERP system. It was through her support of Ellucian's Banner product that she became exposed to Oracle, SQL, PL/SQL, and the ODTUG community.

Helen is a graduate of ODTUG's second Leadership Class and was program coordinator for the 2016-2017 class. She obtained a master's degree in educational leadership in 2013 and was promoted to an assistant director for the Student Collaboration Center in the applications support services area at Temple University during the summer of 2015. In the fall of 2018, she began her second master's program in digital innovation in marketing, where she is learning how data can change the world and how to be a disruptor!

Helen is very active in the ODTUG Database community and was on the committee to merge the DBA/development communities into one cohesive unit. She has organized TwitChats for the community, is involved with the community newsletter, and helps manage the community's LinkedIn group. She served on the ODTUG Kscope15, 16, and 17 Abstract Review Committees for the database track as well as for RMOUG (2015, 2016) and GAOUG (2015, 2016). She is the Database track lead for ODTUG Kscope18 and 19.

Helen began public speaking at the Pennsylvania Banner Users Group (PABUG) Conference in November 2015, followed by gigs at ODTUG Kscope16 and Kscope17 to good reviews. In 2016, she served as student track lead for the PABUG annual conference. In October of 2016 she collaborated with Oracle's Jeff Smith, and together they created the first online training session ever offered to PABUG members, after which PABUG created an online learning track and appointed Helen to be the track lead for it. Helen holds board positions with the Network of Women with Careers in Technology (VP) (2015-2017), and the Temple University Alumni Association. Most recently she has started carving out some time to be part of the fabe project—helping technology create a better earth.

Follow Helen on Twitter at @helenjsanders and get updates on what's going on in her world at

Technologies or Products Used: Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service; Tableau; Excel

Session Summary for Attendees:  "Bad graphs are everywhere!" No matter what tool you are using, there are some basic data visualization rules that should be followed to make your data pop and your story clear and concise.

Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic's "Storytelling with Data" is THE go-to book when learning data viz basics. This presentation will cover some beginner-level but critical concepts that a "Data Visualization 101" course would explore. These concepts can be applied to all types of visualizations—no matter what tool you are using—to produce outstanding and attention-grabbing charts, graphs, and dashboards. For example, do you know about "pre-attentive attributes" like color, size, and position on the page, as well as how they can be used strategically? Do you know how to identify and eliminate clutter? These and other key concepts will be covered, with lots of data viz makeover examples from Knaflic and others.