Chapter 1 Choose Tools to Tell Your Data Story

TODO: Reorganize and rewrite chapter Revise title? – Choose Tools to Draw Your Data Story

Push away the computer and pick up some old-school tools:

  • colored markers or pencils
  • lots of blank paper
  • your imagination

Once you have a clearer mental (and physical) picture of what you seek to create, then choose digital tools…

Do you feel overwhelmed by the enormous range of data visualization tools? There’s been so many different tools released in recent years that anyone would have a hard time deciding which ones to use. Even if you limit your choices to the dozen or so tools specifically mentioned in this book, how do you make wise decisions?

  • Draw and Write Your Data Story reminds us to start with the most important item in your toolkit: your story. Begin by drawing pictures and writing questions or sentences to capture your ideas on paper, and then choose the most appropriate tools to create your vision.
  • Ask Questions When Choosing Tools lists several criteria to consider when making software decisions. Many of us look for free or affordable tools in the perfect sweet spot—easy-to-learn, yet powerful—and that’s the focus of this book.
  • Rate Three Simple Map Tools invites readers to create a basic interactive point map using three different online tools, and to evaluate each one using selected criteria from the chapter above.

TODO: add password manager tutorial to keep track of your accounts for the online tools you’ll use in this book. The free and open-source BitWarden.com tool nicely integrates with most browsers and even smartphones.

Enroll in our free online course TO DO add link, which introduces these topics in the brief video below, and offers more exercises and opportunities to interact with instructors and other learners.

Watch the YouTube Video