Imagine putting in so much work to pull data from various sources. Only to publish your findings, and your audience doesn’t even understand its importance.
That’s more or less a wasted effort.
Data visualization is how you avoid situations like these. In this post, we’re going to be looking at the concept of data visualization and other interesting discussions that surround it.
Let’s go, shall we?
What is data visualization?
Data visualization is the practice of representing datasets with visual elements like charts, graphs, and maps. Depending on the choice of visualization, the aim of this can be to spot outliers in a dataset, understand how two or more variables in a set relate to one another, or recognize patterns in datasets.
Does that sound a bit more comprehensive? I bet it does.
Importance of data visualization
Virtually every industry can benefit from data visualization. Medical practitioners can use the concept to explain the consequences of health data to people. Digital marketers can leverage it in their ad campaigns. Even entrepreneurs can use it to make sense of market data or customer insights.
To put it simply, anyone that makes important deductions or that likes to share insightful findings with an audience needs a data visualization approach. Without data visualization, it would be extremely hard for those on the receiving end of information to make sense of data sets.
What are the common formats of data visualization?
Data visualization can take various visual forms. Since the concept is all about breaking complex data into easy-to-understand visuals, you can expect to find formats like infographics, flow charts, pictographs, etc. Of course, the format taken will depend on the nature of the data set in question. For example, if you have complex data that belongs to a series of processes, a flow chart would be the best data visualization tool. For each process series, a flow chart will show the individual elements that make up that series. You can check some amazing flow chart types here to better understand how flow charts work.
By presenting data in any of these forms, what was originally looking like an incomprehensible batch of numbers is suddenly transformed into an aesthetically pleasing visual.
How is data visualization implemented?
Gone are the days when data sets were hand-drawn into graphs and charts. Nowadays, that’s the work of diagramming software like Zen flowchart. This simple-to-use tool is designed to help non-designers, and non-analytical people transform data points into easy-to-understand visuals.
If you have raw data sets you’ll like to convert into reasonable visuals, these diagramming tools can help you out. And when you’re done, they can also help you share your end product with your clients, colleagues, or target audience.
6 Data Visualization Tips and Tricks
1. Leverage data storytelling
Sometimes, the ability to comprehend the implication of a data set goes beyond staring at charts. You may be successful with converting a raw dataset into eye-catching charts, and still, your audience wouldn’t grasp the message you’re trying to convey.
This is why you need data storytelling.
Data storytelling is the act of supporting your charts with relatable narratives. It’s the process of communicating your insights, data, and statistics in words that your readers can relate to.
For example, let’s say you conduct a survey and collect some data for your dental business. Then you present this data in a nice and neat infographics table. Looking at this data visualization table, your audience may not understand the implication of the content. However, when you relate some of the findings to a condition like tooth decay, readers will quickly understand the data set’s relevance.
This is called data storytelling.
To write the perfect story that gives meaning to your data visualization material, ask yourself important questions like:
- How does this data affect my audience?
- What does the report say about my business or my readers?
- Is there any part of the report that debunks a long-standing myth or affirms an argument?
2. Use the right charts
We already mentioned this earlier, but it’s important to reiterate it again.
Charts are the heart and soul of data visualization. Choose the right chart, and your message delivery will be inch-perfect. Choose the wrong chart, and you just might end up saying the opposite of what you mean.
Basically, what we are saying is you need to know when to use graphs, pictographs, infographics, or flowcharts. Not all is ideal for every data visualization situation. If you aren’t sure which to use, consult Google.
3. Keep your visuals clean
The purpose of data visualization is defeated if a reader cannot make sense of a chart. This is why it is important to keep your presentation clean and clutter-free.
Instead of cramming your visuals with too much information, break them apart. You want a simplistic design that gives readers the information they need in an easy-to-digest format.
4. Litter your charts with color
No rule says your charts have to be in black and white format. Feel free to highlight important points with colors.
By applying unique colors to specific parts of a chart, readers can quickly spot something important in that area.
5. Keep your stories short
Again on the subject of stories.
We have already established why it’s important to add data stories just above or below your charts. In light of that, you want to keep the length of the stories short.
Remember, the chart is what you want the reader to focus on. To prevent distractions, it’s essential to keep storytelling paragraphs concise and straight to the point.
6. Don’t underestimate the power of animations
It doesn’t matter how perfect your presentation is; readers might get bored somewhere along the line.
To get them back in line, apply effective animations at strategic points within your content. The movements and speed of animated characters can help rein your readers’ focus back in.
About the Author
Uday Tank is a serial entrepreneur and content marketing leader who serves the international community at Rankwisely. He enjoys writing, including marketing, productivity, business, health, diversity, and management.