Data Viz for Business


First created in December 2020, for the Office for National Statistics, for use in their protected learning within the Economic Statistics Group (ESG). The aim of this workshop and teaching resources is to provide a business focused approach to data visualisation within R. This like previous sessions delivered for the Office for National Statistics, is focused heavily upon the practical skills of data visualisation without extensive previous knowledge of programming (in R) or data visualisation, achieved through a well structured set of practical exercises.

This session (as of Dec 2020) was aimed to be 90-minutes long, however it is encouraged for participants to continue developing the skills through completing all exercises.

Session Objectives

  • To be introduced to the R Universe, in particular the tidyverse and ggplot2.
  • To understand the benefits of using different plotting methods (ggplot2 vs plot).
  • To use business data to generate clear data visualisations.

Transferable Skills

  • Basic introduction to the use of R and the tidyverse.
  • Basic visualisation techniques using ggplot2.
  • Understanding data visualisation techniques and good practice.
  • Creative Problem solving and debugging.

The importance of Data Visualisation in Business.

Within any form of statistical driven communication, the clear, concise and accurate use of data visualisation is required to ensure that the conclusions drawn are in line with the messages you wish to express. This within the realm of business, which is so statistically driven in this modern age, is incredibly important.

Why R?

Within the field of Business Informatics, there are multiple statistical and visualisation tools which can be used, including software such as D3.js, Tableau and other more general tools like Python. I personally find R one of the most useful tools for data visualisation and associated data analysis, given its simplistic nature, open-source and genuinely lovely community as well as the diversity of tools which can be easily integrated together.


This workshop will focus only upon several types of data visualisation technique:

  • Scatter Plots
  • Bar Charts & Histograms
  • Density Plots

In future sessions, it is likely that Time series plots, GIS focused plots (location based data) and others will be focused upon.