I was fortunate enough to spend a day with some of our team, and fellow publications professionals at the 2020 European ISMPP conference.

The first keynote speaker, David McCandless, presented a compelling and well supported narrative relating to the ever more pressing challenge of presenting ‘big data’, in an accessible, concise, impactful format.

Data are said to be increasing at a near exponential rate, as is the continuum of ways information is accessed. David’s simple yet comprehensive display of complex topics beautifully illustrated the power of data visualisation to combat the ever-increasing threat of data fatigue.

I was totally enthralled throughout the presentation, which, for me, unlocked a new layer of comprehension into the importance of data visualisation, especially when it comes to understanding trends, scales and magnitudes in large datasets.

The topics covered (or should that be uncovered) included the global economy, evidence supporting health supplements for specific indications, most common dates to break up according to Facebook status, and a scene by scene analysis of how ‘true’ some purported based-on-a-true-story movies really are.

Looking through the associated websites after the event, the science nerd in me was excited to see that the data supporting the infographics are openly available, and the publications professional in me was equally excited to learn that the software used to create the data visualisation examples (Viz Sweet) is planned for release.

I hope we will find a way to harness the power of such data-visualisation tools and techniques within our industry, with a view to crystallising the volume of data coming our way in ever increasingly clear, more concise, and easily digestible ways.