Humanising data

Databases are dry. While they will reveal their secrets to statisticians it’s a challenge to make them digestible, and useful, to the world at large. More often than not the fact that the database exists seems to be driver enough to justify publishing it. But I’d argue if you can’t find a way to tell your audience something useful, interesting, surprising then you may as well not bother.

The kind of thing that would be great, for example, is a database about schools that would tell you something like “Pupils at XYZ school are happy most of the time and their exam results are impressive”. How much better is that than limitless charts, tables, numbers or super-complex graphics?

(This is something I’d like to research but) I think there is a large chunk of the population who really don’t like charts, numbers, tables, finding them either intimidating or just dull. They don’t even look.

So hats off to Schooloscope who manage to tell parents exactly what they want to know about their local schools, simply and immediately. It puts a human face on a vast set of potentially dry statistics. And, for those who really want to see the data it’s only one click to find clarification of any of their statements from the source reports.