Tag Archives: Work

Charts Infographics

An infographic I like, well, sort of..

I struggle with some infographics in terms of form over function.  It’s sometimes a matter of the heart (or should that be the eye) ruling the head in terms of the story that’s being told.  Fair enough, some infographics can look pretty, but if I have to spend too much time working out what I’m being told I tend to get grumpy and ranty.

This offering from Careerbuilder.com about working from home I actually like, mainly.  I like this, for example:-

Nice clear bars, no need for axes as the percentages have been very clearly labelled and the two separate sets of graphics seem to use the same scale.  Nice, simple.

I also like this.  It would have been so easy to fall back on using some kind of pie chart:-

It’s easy to compare the bar sizes, although I feel this might be just because there are only three sets of survey data and they are split into four – it wouldn’t work too well if there were more data to compare.  Still, it is so much better than three separate pie charts.  That’s a given.

So far so good.  The only things I would question are the donut-style charts used here:-

I just don’t know if they fit in with the style of the top half of the graphic.  I also don’t completely understand the need to show the “30%” and have a ‘people in pyjamas chart’ by the side of it.  I guess it’s there to help get the message across in some way, but I feel like it’s over-clarification.

Having ranted slightly however, the message and the data presented are simple enough to interpret.  It’s reasonably entertaining and doesn’t go too far over the top.  I think the data itself could be condensed and could take up much less space, but would it catch the eye as well as it does in this form?

Any thoughts?

2toria Life Work

Developers Block

At my day job, other than data analysis and reporting, I develop applications using VBA, Office and VB2008, and I think I’ve gotten reasonably good at doing it.  I’m there to identify areas which need improvement and then I develop tools that staff can use to streamline their day-to-day jobs.  Most of these things I come up with myself based on awareness of these ‘gaps’ in productivity or access to useful data, but staff also approach me with ideas which I then convert from paper to electronic systems.  So, basically, in my day-to-day role I’m never without a challenge in terms of coming up with ideas or developing those suggested by others.

When I get home and try to think of real-world solutions that I can write and maybe even make available for lovely people like you to use I often fall short of ideas.  It’s kind of like a ‘developers block’ of some kind.  I find myself looking for ‘that thing/idea’ that doesn’t yet exist, only to come away with nothing.  I know, I know, I’m not going to find something that doesn’t exist, but some ideas would be nice.

It’s actually quite difficult for me to gauge what people would find useful in terms of desktop software applications.  Somewhere out there, somebody wants something that will make their daily lives easier.  It could be some kind of financial function that just doesn’t exist yet, or access to multiple streams of data into one package so that analysis tasks can be made easier, but I don’t know what these things are.  And when I try to think about what would make my life easier in terms of software that I don’t have that does that thing I need, I have periods where I simply fail to come up with ideas.

Does anybody else have that problem?  Do you have any suggestions on software/services that don’t exist yet or could be improved upon?  It’d be interesting to hear your thoughts…

Life Work

Ten Interview Tips

A previous member of staff came to see me yesterday after being rejected following a job interview.  After a bit of a chat and a few questions about how she conducted the interview it was obvious there was some work to do.  Certain elements of her interview technique were all wrong and it got me thinking about whether or not others don’t know some of the very basics.  So, with that in mind here are ten quick tips:-

  1. Know the organisation.  Research what they do, what rules and regulations they have to follow.  Know this stuff like the back of your hand and understand it.
  2. Turn up early.  About 20 minutes will do – it’s just enough time to read through any notes you’ve made and so that you can calm down a little before your big moment.
  3. When the interview is under way, don’t feel you have to start talking the moment a question is asked.  Take a breath and repeat the question in your mind so that you can figure out what it is they’re asking and how you can give them the answer they’re searching for.
  4. Put yourself in their place.  If you were interviewing you, what answer would impress you?  Again, take your time and give them what they want.
  5. Use eye contact whenever possible – address your interviewers directly and don’t stare blankly into space whilst you’re talking.  Smile and appear friendly.
  6. Use open body language – try not to fold your arms or play with your paperwork or pen as this creates a physical barrier between you and them.
  7. Have a good reason why you want to work for this company/organisation and make it clear at interview.  Don’t just say you’re looking for new work because you hate your current job, even if you do.  Have a plan for where you want to be in x years time and be ready to talk about it.
  8. Remember this is a two-way conversation.  You might be after a job, but they are after an employee, and that makes their day equally difficult.  Get them to sell the job to you whilst you’re selling yourself to them, which leads to…
  9. …come up with a list of intelligent questions to ask your interviewees at the end.  ‘What is an average day in this role like?’, or ‘what is the office culture like here?’ are good starting points.  Remember, you need to be happy that this organisation is the one for you as well as them being happy that you’re their ideal candidate.
  10. If you’ve been told you’re going to hear about your interview after x days and you haven’t, get in touch with them.  It might be that you didn’t get the role, but don’t let them get away with not giving you feedback on your performance, as any advice given could be helpful in the future.  Additionally, you’ll appear more assertive and this could be useful if you get any future interviews with the same organisation.

Available for hire!

I’ve added a page to the contacts link at the top of the page for any consultancy or project work anybody might want me to do for them. I’ve been developing applications in Excel and Access for 10 years so do get in touch if there’s anything you want putting together.