Evelyn Münster – How data literate is your audience?

Abstract: How data literate is your audience?

Data in the hands of a few data experts can be powerful, but data at the fingertips of many is what will be truly transformational. It is crucial to increase data access for business experts, but is getting the data out really all that we have to do to make digital transformation happen?

The vast majority of people are increasingly unprepared to navigate today’s world of data. But you want your audience to be data literate, that means to have the ability to read, work with, analyze and argue with data.

But how can you know the recipient’s level of expertise to make sure that your message will be received? Opening your organization’s data to all employees (or even the public) will only make sense if everyone has at least a basic level of data literacy.

From my experience as a data visualization designer, most of the time, the data literacy level of the audience is a black box. This is a huge pain, so together with my friends at Cavorit and the HTW Berlin, I have decided to find ways to easily measure the skill level of an audience. I want to share our learnings about this complex skill, the prerequisites and subskills involved, and how the skill levels are distributed among a population. These insights can help to adjust the complexity of visualizations for each audience, make training programs more effective, raise awareness and hopefully close the data literacy gap.


Evelyn Münster is a Data Visualization Designer at Cavorit and is also working as a freelancer. She is a multidisciplinary thinker on the crossroads of data analysis, data visualization and UX design. Having a background in media art and software development, she has been developing interactive data visualization tools for science and business since 2008. She writes a data viz newsletter in German and is active on Twitter as @dataviz_de.

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