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  • Megan Johanson

Welcome to Visual Insights

Who I am

I’m an introvert who gets a kick out of exploring new types of data visualizations and impressing friends with Excel tricks. I love making lists, mapping out the components of a project, and connecting with my community.

I also tend to look for data where ever I am. For example, if you tell me your kid is 9 months old, I’ll probably ask what milestones she’s hitting. If you are buying a house, I want to know how many you’ve toured and what square footage you want.

I’ve been improving my visualization techniques for over 4 years and it has completely changed how I distribute my effort and communicate about data. The more effort you put into customizing the visualization, the less work you have to do explaining the data. A better visualization will also reduce the mental effort of the people reading your work, and they will thank you for it.

A lot of people don’t realize how overly complicated and visually distracting a chart or table is until they see it reformatted. By removing data visualization roadblocks that many people aren’t even aware of, I’m actually seeing people get excited about their data.

I’ll show you examples of how to make sense of a variety of data types and turn them into visualizations people will want to share. And sharing is great, because that means your data is being used rather than sitting on a desk or in an email.

This blog is for you if you:

  • work at a nonprofit or public organization and report data to your board only to see glazed eyes

  • know that Excel’s default charts are not ideal but don’t know where to start to improve them

  • work with spreadsheets regularly but were never formally trained to use them efficiently

  • want examples of how to make sense of public or program data

  • want strategies to turn your data into impactful charts and graphs

  • want to understand yourself better

  • want people to stop ignoring your data

  • are anyone, really, because data is everywhere and visual insights are waiting to be found

What you can expect from the blog:

1. Makeovers of data into insightful visualizations

a. Program or fiscal data (feedback surveys, outcomes, services, revenue)

b. Public data (U.S. Census, Ohio Department of Education, Pew Research Center)

Bar chart depicting a nonprofit organization's revenue and expenses for 2017.

2. Excel tips and tricks that help you analyze data and customize your visualization

Screenshot of a step in the process of sorting a data table from left to right.
In Excel you can sort data in a table left to right, not just top to bottom.

3. Examples for visualizing personal data like habit tracking, travel, budgets. I often use my bullet journal for these types of data.

Sample of a simple weekly habit tracker.
Sample of a simple weekly habit tracker.

4. Comparisons of different chart types for the same data

5. How to guides that will take your data to the next level

6. Reviews of data-centric books and articles

7. Excel templates for a variety of data tracking needs: job hunting, budget projects, coaching planner

8. Roundups of great resources, inspirational designers, and visualizations

Thanks for joining me on my data visualization journey! If you are interested in the topics I cover, please subscribe to get alerts when I post.


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