Communicating statistics and analysis

Improving the communication and accessibility of data, statistics and analysis is a priority for the Analysis Function.

This page outlines the guidance and support available in this area.

Data visualisation

Guidance

All our guidance related to data visualisation is on our guidance hub.

It includes guidance on charts, tables, colours, dashboards and infographics – all of which have been updated to reflect the accessibility legislation.

It also includes guidance on maps but this is due to be updated or superseded.

If you publish on GOV.UK we have also developed this page showing examples of HTML tables and charts you can publish on GOV.UK.

Guidance from other sources:

E-learning

Our e-learning on data visualisation

Notes:

  • This is currently being iterated and improved – please let us know what you think!

Data visualisation in R or Python

Notes:

  • This course is currently only available to government analysts badged to an analytical profession.

Exploring data: graphs and numerical summaries

Notes:

  • This is a free e-learning course from the Open University which will take up to 20 hours to complete.
  • It gives an introduction to summarising data.
  • It provides statistical definitions and activities to practise
  • Some equations are images so may not be visible to screen reader software.

Data Visualisation Thinking

Notes:

  • This is e-learning from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
  • It is a useful resource on how to approach creating data visualisations.
  • Active content within this resource has been removed.

Support

DataConnect22 presentation on making charts accessible

Materials from the “Making charts accessible” session delivered as part of DataConnect22. These materials include the recording, slides, plain text version of slides and question and answer session.

Basecamp network for presentation and dissemination of statistics and analysis

Basecamps are online spaces with a message board where you can ask questions and share ideas. There are also areas to share documents and advertise events.

Please email analysis.function@ons.gov.uk to ask for an invite link to be sent.

Drop-in clinics for communicating analysis

We offer communicating analysis drop-in clinics every other Wednesday, 10:30am to 11:30am. Clinic dates and information on how to drop-in can be found on the events area of this website.

Drop-in with any queries related to communicating data, statistics or analysis. These could be about making content accessible, best practice for data visualisation or advice on written content.

Anyone in government is welcome to join. You can just turn up, but, if you would like to send your query to us beforehand you can email Analysis.Function@ons.gov.uk.

Blog post: three tips for better data visualisation

Data visualisation accelerator programme

The Data Visualisation Accelerator Programme launched in 2021.  It is delivered by the Office for National Statistics’ Data Science Campus on behalf of the Government Data Science Partnership (GDSP).

The Accelerator is a capability-building programme that gives analysts from across the public sector the opportunity to develop their data science or data visualisation skills. It runs alongside the Data Science Accelerator. It is open to UK public sector employees including central and local government.

More information on the Data Visualisation Accelerator Programme.

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Accessibility

Guidance

All our guidance related to accessibility is on our guidance hub.

It includes our guidance on the accessibility legislation and guidance on data visualisation and spreadsheets that has been updated to reflect the legislation.

It also includes guidance on making analytical publications accessible. This covers how to make written content and document formats accessible.

Support

Data visualisation and accessibility:

See the data visualisation section on this page.

Spreadsheets and accessibility:

Basecamp for accessibility of statistics

Basecamps are online spaces with a message board where you can ask questions and share ideas. There are also areas to share documents and advertise events.

Please email analysis.function@ons.gov.uk to ask for an invite link to be sent.

Drop-in clinics for communicating analysis

We offer communicating analysis drop-in clinics every other Wednesday, 10:30am to 11:30am.

Drop-in with any queries related to communicating data, statistics or analysis. These could be about making content accessible, best practice for data visualisation or advice on written content.

Anyone in government is welcome to join. Clinics are drop-in events, so you can just turn up. But, if you would like to send your query to us beforehand you can email Analysis.Function@ons.gov.uk.

Information on how to join the clinics is on the events area of this website.

Other accessibility support

If you are looking for help on specific accessibility queries, three good places to look for help are:

If you want a better understanding of access needs, you might find the following resources useful:

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Dissemination

All our guidance related to dissemination is on the guidance hub.

It includes guidance on spreadsheets and using symbols and shorthand in tables.

It also includes guidance for dashboards.

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Communication

All our guidance related to communication of statistics and analysis is on the guidance hub.

It includes guidance on writing about statistics (due to be updated) and tips on communicating the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).

It also includes guidance on labelling official statistics and advice for policy professionals.

You can also access a guide for writing about statistics on the Style.ONS website.

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Future work

We are reviewing all our guidance to incorporate the accessibility legislation. We have updated the guidance on releasing statistics in spreadsheets, charts, tables, colours, dashboards and infographics. We are moving on to writing about statistics soon. We are also working on updating our data visualisation e-learning.

We always welcome feedback on our guidance. Please email us or use the feedback forms on the guidance pages to let us know what you think.

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Contact

For general questions about communicating statistics, please email Analysis.Function@ons.gov.uk.

Hannah Thomas is the Presentation and Dissemination Support Lead in the Analysis Function Central Team. You can follow Hannah @statshan on Twitter.

All departments should have a Government Statistical Service (GSS) presentation and web dissemination champion. These champions should be able to help you find out more about communicating statistics and analysis in your department.

Read more about the GSS presentation champion network.

Read more about the GSS dissemination champion network.

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