I am a really big fan of infographics. I think most of us are. The visual appeal, the numbers, the quick read, it has many elements to make them attractive in our world of readers with a short attention span. I also really find them useful, because they can deliver a lot of information in such a short visual or read. This can be great when our readers don’t have a lot of time, or we are looking to grab the audience’s attention really quickly. This week there were some solid resources, but the one I really want to highlight is the TedTalk by David McCandless, entitled The Beauty of Data Visualization. I found this talk fascinating, and full of some really salient points. I enjoyed his point about data literally pouring into our eyes on a constant basis, and the joy that we feel when we come across a beautiful graphic or a beautiful data visualization. Additionally, his point around layering data sets was spot on. When we can do this, then we make true sense of the numbers. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but his examples are excellent, and I highly recommend this video!
The purpose of my infographic is to inform our employees about our tech ticketing system. I started at the International School of Curitiba in August 2018 and prior to this, there was no formal way to lodge a tech help request. Sometimes emails would be sent, or a phone call made, or in some instances, someone would come to the IT Office to ask for help. There was no formal way to track data. Once I arrived, we implemented this system so that we had a formal way to lodge requests. Additionally, this would allow us to collect data on what the actual requests were, our response times, and how long the requests took to actually service.
My process in creating this infographic was similar to creating a lesson or unit. I began with the end in mind. I thought about who the audience is, and what I am trying to demonstrate. Once I had those ideas mapped out, I needed to pull the data from our ticketing system. We currently use Spiceworks as our application of choice for our ticketing system and we drive the application through our school intranet. You can see a picture below of the user interface for the teachers that they use on our intranet.
Spiceworks does track some data within the platform. You can see those pictures below. However, the data is only tracked for a day, seven days, or thirty days. So to obtain the data for the infographic, I pulled everything since we started using the platform into a spreadsheet and cleaned that data from Google Sheets to produce my pie charts that are in the infographic.
I posted the first version to Twitter to gain feedback, and was given several suggestions, which I incorporated into version 2.0 (the one that is posted above). Additionally, I shared it with the School Wide Leadership Team at our school so that they could see the work that was being done by the IT and Innovation team. They were surprised by the number of tickets that the department handled, and that the response time was within a day. We also have a weekly newsletter for our divisions; ECC, ES, and MS/HS, and I placed the graphic in those so that teachers could see how we were performing and responding to their needs. This has also served for some great conversations within our department. We purchased new printing software in August 2019 and this helped reduce the printing errors, and thus the number of tickets. We purchased a new WiFi system in August 2019, and this heavily increased tickets to support this new system in August and September. Additionally, we took on PowerSchool in August 2019 as our new Student Information System, and this was added as a support option for this school year. I am interested so see the data visualizations that others produce and their thinking behind them.
6 thoughts on “Making Pretty Data”
As always, I enjoy your succinct writing style that really gets right to the point. You have a beautiful looking infographic that seems to really serve a specific need that you have in your context. That’s great to hear you were able to visualize data in a meaningful way. It’s not easy!
I noticed that you created three pie charts for your infographic. I wonder if there are any other ways that you might visualize that types of tickets you received. That’s the million dollar question when it comes to data, right? Which visualization method tells the story the best? The pie chart shows one interesting story; might there be another story another visualization method could show?
Hey Alex, thanks for reading. I was torn when designing about what style of graph to use. The pie charts seemed best, but really its a difficult data story to tell with so many slices of pie. Possibly three line graphs layered on top of each other might tell a different story. Definitely some good food for thought moving forward.
I liked that you chose to create an infographic that was relevant and useful in your daily job. I was shocked by the shear number of support requests you receive! (And pretty impressed by how quick you are able to respond to them..)
I liked that you created a first draft and shared it for feedback. I like the addition of the total number of tickets to your final version, as I think it was that which caught my eye and motivated me to look deeper into the data. With just the pie charts, I don’t know that I would have been interested.
I appreciate that you now use this information to make changes to the systems you are using. I am wondering if this information could be beneficial for other staff. Is there a way that this could be used to create tools that would assist staff in being able to troubleshoot/solve their own issues?
Thanks for sharing!
Oh! I wanted to add that your post reminded me of the subreddits r/dataisbeautiful and r/dataisugly
If you haven’t seen these, I think you might appreciate them!
Caitlin, you read my mind, when we look at data like this, we always think about how we can empower our teaching and non-teaching staff to start solving some of these problems themselves. Even teaching staff to trouble shoot the Apple TV or projector can save us all kinds of time moving forward. Whether this be online help in terms of screencasts, or guides, or holding sessions around this can be a huge help in terms of saving us time.
What about an autoreply that says “Have you tried turning it off and back on again?” 🙂
The screencasts, guides, and sessions all sound like great ideas to support your staff!