'Data Viz' Gallery Opening

At OMNI, we have several Best Practice Teams that draw on and cultivate the talent of our staff from across our divisions. Our Data Visualization Best Practice Team primarily supports company-wide excellence and innovation in ‘data viz’. For OMNI, good data viz means more than just beautiful graphics, it means clear and easily understood data for a range of audiences and makes data accessible and useable for our clients and their stakeholders. 

Recently, our Data Viz Best Practice Team hosted a “gallery opening” for our staff to showcase examples of our best work from the past year and to encourage a cross-team dialogue about the visual work we present to clients and how we can continue to improve. After the gallery, the Data Viz team sat down and reflected on where we’ve been, what we’ve learned, and why the gallery felt so important for our staff.  

What has been the evolution of the Data Viz Best Practice Team at OMNI?

OMNI as an organization has long recognized that excellent visual presentation of data makes our evaluation work more accessible and actionable for clients and stakeholders. In the last three years, we’ve harnessed our energy and invested time and resources to improve our visualizations. This has meant attending trainings by experts in the field, putting in the real time and effort that it takes to create good data viz, and intentionally sharing our expertise with each other as a team. 

What has OMNI learned in the time that this team has been in action? 

Our biggest learning to date is that producing good data viz needs to be an intentional and iterative process. Customization is key! Whether considering a graph, table, chart, or image we’ve learned to ask questions like:

  • What is the key takeaway, and how would a visualization communicate that message?

  • Can we simplify the visualization to make it easy for others to identify that takeaway? 

  • What implicit messages do we send with the use of color, emphasis, or icons? How can we revise the design to be more inclusive? 

  • Who else on the team can contribute a unique or fresh perspective to this presentation?

We also developed shared resources for OMNI to support everyone in creating innovative, efficient, and high-quality data viz. For example, we host brownbag learning sessions, staff all have access to customized templates, and we use a Slack channel to constantly solicit feedback from our colleagues.

What was the vision for the Data Viz BPT gallery opening? 

Making high quality data viz is hard work. We wanted to celebrate our accomplishments and offer our colleagues a place to share the great work they have done for clients this year. The gallery really focused on our core values of Inquiry and Connection, because building these skills requires continuous learning, collaboration as a team, and an infusion of fresh perspectives. We wanted to share and talk about the work we are passionate about, and we were excited to see the creative conversations this sparked among our staff.