NHS-R/NHS.pycom Online Conference Workshop 2023 – Level up your plots: Using colour, annotations, text hierarchy and other tricks to make your data story stand out

Level up your plots: Using colour, annotations, text hierarchy and other tricks to make your data story stand out with Cara Thompson

We are very excited to announce that the NHS-R Community will be hosting its annual conference, including pre-conference online talks, online workshops and the main conference, during October 2023

The online conference workshop will be hosted via Zoom and take place on the following date:

  • Wednesday 04th October 2023 – 9:30am until 1:00pm (UK time)

Workshop Content

You are encouraged to bring a ggplot of your own making to the workshop – we will code our way towards a better version of it together. Copy the code from the Quarto slides and reuse at will!

Here’s a list of the packages I’ll be using:
Available on CRAN:

  • tidyverse
  • palmerpenguins
  • systemfonts
  • monochromeR
  • ggtext
  • geomtextpath.

Available from GitHub:

  • colorblindr
    See instructions at: github.com/clauswilke/colorblindr

And here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Picking intuitive colours to make our graphs more memorable
  • Making our colour choices (and text) as accessible as we can
  • With a review of the latest Nightingale In Print Accessibility guidelines
  • Optimising text hierarchy in our plots, and packing our work up as a reusable ggplot theme
  • Reducing unnecessary eye movement and cognitive load by being careful about what text we include/exclude, and where we put it
  • Adding in-plot annotations to highlight important patterns.

By the end of the session, you’ll have…

  • A solid set of colours that you’ve tested against accessibility criteria
  • A reusable ggplot theme with optimised text hierarchy
  • A decluttered plot that makes the most of the visual space available
  • Additional tips and tricks for adding in-plot annotations
  • A set of resources you can return to when working on new graphs!

Ticket Information

By registering for this event, you will qualify for the following:

  • Attendance to the full workshop virtually.


A Zoom link will be provided to you to attend the conference workshop virtually. Please note that if subtitles are used, they are likely to be generated by Zoom thus, may encounter some issues converting technical language and acronyms to text.

If you require any additional information or have any accessibility requests, please do not hesitate to contact the Conference Team via nhs.rcommunity@nhs.net

Additional Conference Related Activities

Please note that the conference will also include the following separate activities:

  • A series of online workshops from Thursday 28th September 2023 until Friday 06th October 2023
  • A series of online conference talks from Monday 09th October 2023 until Wednesday 11th October 2023
  • The NHS-R/NHS.pycom Conference 2023 at Edgbaston Stadium on Tuesday 17th October 2023 and Wednesday 18th October 2023 (can be attended in-person or virtually)
  • A post-conference ‘speed dating’ inspired networking session to provide community member’s with an opportunity to be introduced to other event attendees in the afternoon of Tuesday 17th October 2023 (in-person attendance required)
  • A post-conference social in the evening of Tuesday 17th October 2023 (in-person attendance required).

Event Speakers

Cara Thompson

Data Vsualisation Consultant

A data visualisation consultant with an academic background, specialising in helping research teams and data-driven organisations turn their data insights into to clear and compelling visualisations.

From designing experiments to analysing candidates’ scores in postgraduate medical examinations, I have 15 over years’ experience of building stories with data. I have earned a solid reputation for making complex things easy to understand, through clear communication and intuitive data visualisations.

Cara Thompson – Building Stories with Data - www.cararthompson.com

Event Type


Event Date

October 4, 2023

Event Time

9:30 am - 1:00 pm

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