Sportsbet’s top 3 data visualisation commandments

Head of online analytics Tony Gruebner shares some tips on creating simple graphs

Presenting data visualisaiton in graphs for marketing people to easily understand can be improved through the use of colour and putting in key takeaway data, according to Sportsbet's head of online analytics, Tony Gruebner.

Speaking at the Tableau user conference in Sydney this week, Gruebner shared some of his top commandments for analysts wanting to communicate their findings so that marketers and other stake holders can take action on the insights.

Thou shalt always obsess over colours

According to Gruebner, colours can help tell a story and keep things consistent throughout a presentation.

“There is nothing worse than flicking from one slide to another and different colour scenes have been used,” he said.

He shared a chart which showed state by state sports information by using the traditional National Rugby League (NRL) colours of maroon for Queensland and light blue for New South Wales.

“This instantly takes the user to the information they want. In their minds, they can associate NSW with light blue,” he said.

Read: What animated movies can teach you about data analysis

Thou shalt give the whole story away in the title

“There has been a lot of talk about story telling through analysis,” said Gruebner.

“The one thing about story telling that you don’t reveal the answer until the end, you keep people in suspense. That isn’t true for data visualisation because you want people to get to the answer as soon as you can,” he said.

According to Gruebner, one of the things that Sportsbet analysts ask themselves is: what is the slide trying to say?

“Put that key information in the title because that is what people look at first.”

He added that analysts putting slides together should stop and think: “What is the key takeaway from this slide and why am I using it in the presentation?”

Pie charts are to be consumed in moderation

According to Gruebner, pie charts should be used sparingly in presentations because people sometimes find it hard to understand the dimensions of each slice of the pie chart.

“The human eye can’t always work out what the biggest slice in the pie chart is. However, there is a time and a place to use pie charts if you have very simple data,” he concluded.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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