SQLBits: Follow-Up from Data Visualisation Sessions

I recently helped out at SQLBits by delivering a pre-conference day on Data Visualisation in SQL Server Reporting Services, a shorter one-hour session on Data Visualisation on Reporting Services, spoke briefly at two SQLBits sponsor sessions for Attunity ( blog | twitter ), and a ten-minute Lightning Talk on 3D graphs. So, I’ve been a busy girl, but it was great fun. Before we start, I’d like to thank the SQLBits Committee members for their support and hard work on putting on an outstanding SQL Server event for the community.
The purpose of this blog is to clear up some of the general questions that I received, provide a pointer to my slides, and to provide a forum for anyone to directly ask questions or provide comments or feedback on my sessions. 
Data Visualisation Precon and Abbreviated Version
For the Data Visualisation sessions, I had a great crowd at each session who asked some brilliant questions. More detailed questions will be answered over the course of my next blogs, since they require more detail than I’ve been able to provide here. In the meantime, you can download my slides from the SlideShare website. 
Every Friday at 1pm EST – that’s 6pm for us here in the UK – Howard Dresner ( blog | twitter ) and the BIWisdom team use Twitter in order to chair a discussion on business intelligence topics. The team throw out a question every Friday, and then the Business Intelligence twitterati join in. For example, the session on 15th April 2011 focused on SaaS and its future in Business Intelligence. For example, is it at tipping point? If not, when is the tipping point reached?
If you’re interested in joining in, or just lurking on the conversation, the hashtag is #BIWisdom. For me, this is the highlight of my Twitter week and I learn so much from my peers since the conversation is extremely thought-provoking.
This week, the main contributors were Howard Dresner ( site | Twitter ) and the BI Wisdom ( Twitter ) team, along with Flying Binary (site | twitter ), and Warren Hart (site | twitter).
Book References
I thought it worthwhile noting some useful book references to support my commentary on data visualisation. I hope that these links are useful as a starting point for people who would like more information.
Stephen Few References
Any book by Stephen Few is an excellent, informative discussion on data visualisation. I usually recommend ‘Now You See It‘ because I believe it is well-written and instructive. Best of all, it’s one of these books where you learn something, without realising that you’re learning. Stephen Few seems to have the knack for writing in such a way that the reader is intaking the information, without realising that they are learning. For me, that’s the art of a true teacher and it is my ambition to be able to write in the same way. 
I’d also recommend his blog for a great read. 
Edward Tufte References
Tufte’s book ‘The Visual Display of Quantitative Information‘ is another one of these books where the reader learns by stealth, reading and not realising that they are taking in complex information. This book covers good and bad examples of design, and cogently argues the case for good visualisation. 
Nathan Yau References
I love the Flowing Data site, and Nathan Yau’s book is being released in the UK in the near future. His book is entitled ‘Visualise This: The Flowing Data Guide to Design, Visualization and Statistics‘. I will be obtaining my copy as soon as it is released in July 2011!
SQLBits Feedback
I’m obsessed with my SQLBits speaker feedback; I like to visualise it, analyse it, and then work out what the data is telling me so I can improve for next time. So far, I’ve found kind comments on my Lightning Talk on ‘3D or not to 3D’ Data Visualisation, from Luke Merrett ( blog | twitter ), who summarised it nicely; I was particularly glad of this because it told me that I managed to get the main point across in the tight 10-minute slot.

I hope that helps!

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