2013-03-19 Avoiding “chartjunk” and “slideuments”: principles for visual presentation of data and findings

Avoiding “chartjunk” and “slideuments”: principles for visual presentation of data and findings

Presented by John Burrett

CapCHI will be hosting our next event on March 19th, again at the Fox & Feather Pub and Grill!

Date: Tuesday March 19th, 2013
Time: doors open at 6:00 pm; talk begins at 6:30 pm
Place: The upstairs room at the Fox & Feather Pub and Grill, located at 283 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON, Canada (foxandfeather.ca).


(NEW) Thanks to everyone who attended this talk! Here is a list of references provided by John:

  • Nancy Duarte – “Resonate” (the best reference from her, especially on the structure and design of presentations) and “Slideology” (older but has more about slide construction); www.duarte.com
  • Stephen Few – “Show me the Numbers” (about the best ways to present data), and “Now You See It” (like Show me the Numbers, but focused more on using the same principles for visual data analysis); www.perceptualedge.com
  • Garr Reynolds – “Presentation zen”, much like Duarte’s stuff, but some additional perspectives; www.garrreynolds.com
  • Edward Tufte – the classic reference is “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information”, but anything by him is good.  He tends to go a bit more to the real minimalist end of the spectrum when it comes to data/non-data ink, etc, and is a bit more on the artistic side.  Well worth it, though. www.edwardtufte.com



The goal of this presentation is to introduce the idea that quantitative facts and findings can be presented, by following some principles, in a way that clarifies and emphasizes the messages in your data. This is done by following some key principles related to how we view and perceive visual information, particularly via data graphics and tables. The presentation also seeks to introduce the idea that verbal/visual presentations, using slides, can also be similarly improved, with an emphasis on avoiding dense wordy slides and designing slides with clarity and flow in mind.

It’s meant to be an introduction to these principles and hopefully a catalyst for analysts, researchers and communicators to learn more.

That offers considerable potential value to government and businesses who should want to communicate clearly, as more and more data becomes available.


John Burrett is an Ottawa based consultant in the areas of evaluation, measurement and analysis and in communicating for data based policy development and advocacy.

He has built a successful consulting practice in evaluation and performance management, strategic research and outreach for major government departments and public-good-oriented organizations, as the director of his company, with a major multinational company, and with select partner firms.

John continues developing his practice, studying with leaders in the area of visual analysis and communications and building capabilities with new techniques to measure outcomes and networks.

When and Where:

This event will take place on Tuesday, March 19th, 6:00 pm in the upstairs room at the Fox & Feather Pub and Grill, located at 283 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON, Canada (foxandfeather.ca).

Note: There is no cost for attending this event and prior registration is not required.

CapCHI (www.capchi.org) is a social and professional society of people who work as user interface designers, researchers, educators, software developers, web designers, graphic designers and human factors engineers in and around Canada’s National Capital Region. Founded in 1991, CapCHI’s goal is to bring together local professionals interested in how humans and computers interact, in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.