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Data Visualization: Storytelling and Influencing

Class Sessions

Date Location Cost
  • Thu Aug 20, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Live Online $400

Class Code


Class Description

Effective immediately in response to COVID-19, all Technology Training classes through the Spring Quarter will be held online.

In advance of each session, Tech Training will provide you with a Zoom link to your class, along with any required class materials.

This course is designed to help understand best practices for data visualization with no prior experience. You will view examples from real-world research cases and business cases from leading companies.


This class will help you generate powerful reports and dashboards that will help your audience make decisions and take actions based on the data you present.


You will use Microsoft Excel to create high-impact visualization of common data analysis. This course culminates in a project in which you will use sample data to create visualizations, dashboards, and storyboards to prepare a presentation to fictional audience.


Learning Objectives


After this course, you will have the opportunity to develop these skills:

  • Data visualization
  • Visual analytics
  • Interactive visualization
  • Storyboarding
  • Storytelling


Topic Outline:


Crafting the Story

  • Understanding your data
  • Understanding your audience
  • Exploratory vs. explanatory analysis
  • Sketching your ideas and stories
  • Questions to ask -- What makes a good data visualization?


Information Hierarchy

  • Focusing on an audience on what's most important and only revealing details as needed
  • Explore - Visual exploration
  • Explore - Indexes and ratios
  • Convert - Grouping
  • Convert - Aggregating
  • Convert - Data formats



  • Sketches and wireframes
  • Defining your narrative
  • Keeping your audience's attention -- make everything relatable


Visual Display

  • Position, size, color, contrast and shape
  • Typography and iconography
  • Basic charts and alternative charts
  • Hierarchical data
  • Legends and sources
  • Watch out - Cognitive overload (Eliminating distractions)
  • Watch out - Signaling where to look
  • Watch out - Lack of visual order



  • Why interactive experience? (vs. static experience)
  • When and where to go interactive
  • Think interactively to provide productive experiences
  • The right technology for your needs


In closing -- Steps

  1. What's the context?
  2. Select the right visual display (choose the right design and eliminate distractions)
  3. Think like your audience
  4. Think like a designer
  5. Tell a story

University IT Technology Training classes are only available to Stanford University staff, faculty, or students. A valid SUNet ID is needed in order to enroll in a class.