To build an effective data product, the data product producer has a big job. He must bridge the gap between the data and the intended audience with visuals that resonate and spark discussion. The data product should inform, instruct and lead people to smart discussions, decisions and actions. To be able to do that effectively, a data product producer needs to have 5 key qualities:
1. Data authors know their audience. Much like the savvy salesperson, they consider how to best capture their attention, how they perceive data, and how to gain their buy-in. Ultimately leading the audience to take action. You probably wouldn’t buy a car from a sales associate who didn’t understand your specific needs and taste.
2. They have empathy. Like a therapist, a data author has the desire and ability to understand and share the feelings of others. They ask thought provoking questions to get in the hearts and minds of their audience. What will motivate them to take action? What are they afraid of? How can the data address these concerns?
3. The best data authors are willing to make tough distinctions between data that is interesting and data that is important and actionable. A connoisseur of data, they understand the audience’s limited attention span, and makes sure the data supports a concise point.
4. Data authors must be comfortable working with data. Having a deep understanding of the data and what it has to offer is critical in conveying its message to the audience. You can’t paint a beautiful picture if you don’t like working with paint!
5. Data authors have perspective on how the data product fits into the way people work. They ask the right questions. How is the data product incorporated into the audience’s workflow? How does information travel through the organization? What do people care about and what do they ignore?
Now that you know the key qualities, how does your resume compare? Sharpen and utilize these skills altogether to help produce delicious data products.
Find out more on effective data visualization from our book, Data Fluency.
Excerpted with permission from the publisher, Wiley, from Data Fluency: Empowering Your Organization with Effective Data Communication by Zach Gemignani, Chris Gemignani, Richard Galentino, Patrick Schuermann. Copyright © 2014.