As UW-IT's Visual Communicator, I created training resources on our tools such as data cubes, Knowledge Navigator, and BI Portal. These tools are used by our audience to streamline the work that they may do within the university.
Goal: Produce illustrated visualizations and training videos to support our internal UW academic audience with their work.
Tools: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, iMovie, Confluence
Some people prefer to have PDF handouts to understand on topics like, connecting to a data cube or the University of Washington's application status flow.
To create these handouts, I use Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign to help me make the visualizations and to put combine the visuals and text together.
In the Application Status Flow Diagram PDF, I designed a new visualization to help readers understand how the application process works.
My team decided to go with a funnel diagram instead of a traditional line flow chart. Using a funnel informs the reader that less applicants will make it through to the end.
The arrows in the Admission row shows what can happen if an applicant is waitlisted. Either they will be waitlisted and then denied, waitlisted and offered, or waitlisted and offered but decline. This was the funkiest part to get right since a funnel shape doesn't make it easy.
To combat any confusion, I made sure to use colors to help navigate the flow. Waitlist was made grey because that application decision is in limbo, meaning anything can be changed later on. Gold indicates the end goal and shades of purple helps bring the flow downward.
It's important to make sure that the handouts were accurate and easy enough to understand for both technical and non-technical users. In the end, many of my visualizations were demonstrated to the eyes of hundreds of people to help them learn! Below is a slide of a UW-IT ecosystem diagram that I made. This slide was shown to the Workday Tech Conference.
It brings me lots of joy when I hear back from people who enjoy my work.
"Thank you Cheryl for all your hard work on this diagram. I remember chatting with you early in the process and it’s now my Go To slide for presentations!"
"Today, Dawn used Cheryl’s diagram to communicate about our data landscape. I was so proud to see 400+ people looking at Cheryl’s good work!"
For longer content and for those who prefer a more detailed step-by-step tutorial, I have created 25+ training videos to help learn how to use our tools.
Most of the training videos are hosted on UW-IT's wiki Confluence. However, one training video is available publicly on YouTube: UW Profiles Overview.
I made these videos from start-to-finish. I always have one foot in the development process. Here are the steps that I usually take to create a training video:
1. Collaborate with specialist on the video's topic
I've worked with many specialist from developers, Tableau experts, Financial team members, and more. We usually start off with a meeting so I can understand the topic more in depth from the specialist.
2. Draft a script with specialist'S KNOWLEDGE
3. Edit the script to make sure that it's easy to understand and follow
Editing is where I mostly work on. After all of the details are accurately written down by me and the specialist, I go in and make sure that the script is evenly paced and easy to follow.
4. Gather visual assets
This is done through screen captures, Adobe Illustrator to make textual slides, and Keynote to create animations.
Below is an example of an opening that I made for all of the UW Tableau Service videos. I make sure that my videos are consistent yet appealing with its visuals.
5. Voice record myself to give narration
6. Edit using iMovie to combine video and audio together
Sometimes, I stumble with my words or I need to add transitions to the video. That's why editing is important! This is usually a time-consuming task since I'm combining everything together to make the video.
The hardest part of editing was making sure that my voice lines up well with the visuals. I make sure that my voiced instructions reflect with what's happening on the screen. I like to imagine my viewers to follow the tutorial along as it's playing.
7. Send it to specialist and project manager to get the final OK
Along with the upload, I make sure to add supporting details: description, intended audience, and the video's duration. If the video is uploaded on the UW-IT wiki, these details makes it easy for accessibility and lets viewers know if this video is targeted for them.
According to my boss, I've heard that the videos were well-received! Many people addressed that these videos were easy to understand and helped them navigate through the most technical of topics.
I've also gotten back some requests of improvements for some of the specific videos. For example, adding a highlighted box to indicate where on the screen I am referring to or to add more interactive screen captures to break up the text-based slides. I've made sure to go back and update those suggestions.
These videos will be a valuable resource for the UW-IT and I don't see them going away soon.
1. Being flexible with foreign topics is important. Most of the time, I have no knowledge in a particular topic. That's why cross-collaborating with others makes the work easier. I make sure to ask every question that pops in my mind. Because how can I make quality resources without understanding the basics of their content?
2. The smallest of details can create an impact. Spending time being detailed-orientated in my work brings the biggest payback in the end. Making sure that the colors are distinct enough or have the audio match up with the visuals are much appreciated when it comes to teaching someone. This lessens confusion and makes my resources easier to consume.