A picture is worth a thousand words. Yes, it’s true — and that’s why data should be represented using visualization tools like the Sankey diagram. As an analyst or data researcher, your work is somewhat meaningless if your reader can not digest the data displayed.
The beauty of data storytelling and data visualization lies in the digestibility of the information displayed. With data visualization, you get to create the right picture and help your audience capture the right image. If your audience could not comprehend the displayed information, then you’ve failed.
In a nutshell, you could see that data storytelling and data visualization helps in the breakdown of complex data into a digestible format. If you are a newbie in the industry, here is what you need to know about data visualization and data storytelling.
Data visualization involves a series of process that goes into transforming information (or data) into visuals using tools like a Sankey Diagram Generator. Aside from these visual tools, you can use images to display the interconnection between several data points. Data visualization is also known as statistical graphics, information graphics, or information visualization.
Importance of data visualization
Data visualization helps in the quick delivery of stories. It’s a sure way that helps your audience comprehend the story you’re passing across. Aside from easy comprehension of data, here are other importance of data visualization.
- It helps business owners appreciate the work that goes into the interpretation and clarification of business data. This will, in turn, help them make more informed business decisions
- It helps the reader improve insight, absorb information, and quickly make important decisions
- It helps in the attraction and maintenance of your audience interest by offering easy-to-understand information
- Eliminates the need for heavy reliance on data scientists. After all, the information is easily accessible and understood
- As a decision-maker, you get to quickly deliver successful outcomes and act on your findings without any errors
- Helps you understand the next step for your organization.
Data storytelling is an organized or structured way of translating data insights. It has three subunits — data, visuals, and narrative. In modern marketing, storytelling has several expressions like infographics, dashboards, data visualization, data presentation, and much more.
Importance of data storytelling
Storytelling is an integral part of human evolution. The ancient man has always communicated using compelling stories. Nowadays, storytelling is used on various platforms like the TED conference series, and it’s one of the best ways of delivering engaging, memorable, and persuasive content.
Using insights and facts to deliver your message is good, but if you want to drive more engagement, and make it a memorable one, then data storytelling is arguably your best shot.
How to improve data stories using data visualization
Data visualization is not as easy as it sounds. You’ve got to put in the work and effort. As a general rule of thumb, all visual elements have to be appropriately balanced — and the preferred elements have to be in the ideal proportion.
Furthermore, you’ve got to avoid mistakes if you desire a meaningful and impactful visualization.
Moving forward, here are ways of improving your visualization and creating compelling data stories.
- Use the right data visualization for the data story
With several kinds of visualization tools, choosing the right one is somewhat tricky. If you can easily choose the right visualization graph, the information would be easily grasped, and the reader’s attention retained.
Each visualization tool graph serves a purpose, and you can choose it if it fits your requirement. Data visualization tools include pie charts, flow charts, scatter plots, bar graphs, histograms, and line plots. If you’re up for it, you can choose over two visualization graphs.
- Keep a simple visualization
Visualization without irrelevant distractions or patterns can effectively deliver your message to the audience. Sometimes, not all elements in a graph are required for a thorough comprehension of the information by the audience.
Irrelevant elements could be shadows, gridlines, or distracting visual patterns. If you desire simplicity, you’ve got to only include elements that deliver value to your audience — nothing more, nothing less.
- Make it audience-specific
By now, you probably know that you’ve got to know your audience and the requirement for the chart. If these two things are in place, you’re pretty sure of creating a stunning visual. For instance, if your audience has a scientific background, it would be best if you create a visual with a scientific background.
If you divide your chart using various trends, you would end up confusing your audience and thwart the purpose of the visualization.
- Use the right colors
Colors are everything — they could make or break your visuals. Therefore, you’ve got to be careful about how you use them. Using colors inappropriately can mislead the reader. Here’s a simple rule — use the same color to represent the same data set.
For instance, if you want to showcase the car sale for a year, it would be best if you use a bar graph. For the color shades, you should use a single color. Using several colors could create some confusion and issues in your work.
Whether you’re using tools like Sankey Diagram, or a bar chart, you should always keep your data visuals simple. In the modern age, less is more — and if you keep your visuals simple with the right colors, then you are somewhat sure of telling compelling data stories.
As a general rule of thumb, your data stories should effectively communicate reports and insights. To a large extent, you should know what your audience desires, and be willing to put in enough work so they can grab the message in an easy-to-understand format.
First step is to identify who your audience is, and tailor your data visualization and data stories to fit their needs. They’ve got to easily digest complex information by merely looking at your visualization.
If you’re a newbie in the industry, you’ve got to polish your skills. You can start by getting an all-around view of the various data visualization and data storytelling tools.