Data-Visualization is a way of image processing that shows that images can be processed 60 thousand times faster than text.
The phrase “A picture can paint a thousand words” isn’t just a poetic expression with no basis in reality.
Further studies show that when the retina sees a picture, our brains can quickly extract its meaning at a rate of about 75 frames per second, even if it is presented alongside other visual stimuli.
It is therefore not a surprise to learn that leading businesses and companies leverage visuals to swiftly process information about various marketing data, from customer segmentation research, campaign effectiveness, competitive analysis, and so on.
Regardless of what business you are engaged in, data visualization can be one of the most effective tools to maximize your business.
Whether you are interested in scaling your business or are looking for ways to improve your current working methods, you can create more effective presentations with these 7 highly recommended practices.
How to Create Compelling Data Visuals
1. Align your content and design with your target audience
Knowing the needs and desires of those to whom you will be presenting your data can help ensure that you’re not wasting your time or theirs.
There have been countless hours wasted in unproductive meetings simply because of the failure by the presenter to understand what drives their audience towards the right behaviors.
If you take the time to interview and analyze the people who will consume your data, you may discover a few things that can help you secure your presentation objectives.
To start with, you can learn about some common ground or some sweet spot that can heighten their appreciation of your information.
Assessing your viewers in advance can also help you avoid sensitive topics or apply the necessary care in presenting delicate but unavoidable subject matters. You can also skew your data visualization presentation to what is highly relevant to your target audience.
Finding out what design your viewers prefer can also impress how highly you value their opinion and position. There have been many presentations with meaningful content and yet were unable to capture the audience’s attention because the designs were not to their liking.
2. Only include data that adds value to your message
Have you ever been to a presentation where so much data was presented that you instantaneously found your mind wandering off? Like adding unnecessary design elements, immaterial content can also result in cognitive overload.
Instead of enhancing the value of your presentation, it can cause your audience to become impatient. Worse, this will keep them from easily comprehending the message you are trying to convey, making it harder for you to get their buy-in.
Too much data can also form the impression that you are unprepared, diminishing your professional image. After all, it takes more careful thought, more deliberate planning to present a brief yet more cohesive presentation. So get rid of the nice-to-haves and only include those data visualization figures and facts that will add value to your purposes.
3. Clean up your data
Prioritize the accuracy of your information. Look out for redundancies. Dispensable repetitions can be such time wasters and make your audience feel like you’re going around in circles.
Do your due diligence to ensure that what you are sharing is correct. Even a single error can already cast doubt on your entire presentation.
In addition, the slightest inaccuracy can skew the interpretation to have a completely different result. Once your data is robust, making your visuals more attractive will be a cinch.
4. Use appealing yet clean dashboards
It can be tempting to get carried away by the many different colors and objects available to create aesthetically pleasing visuals.
However, if your presentation is too “noisy,” it can drown out your message and confuse your audience. In addition, clutter bombards the eye with excessive visual stimuli, which requires your viewers to exert more effort to stay focused.
Note that you can have a clean data visualization presentation and still make it attractive with the right color cues. You can even leverage colors or color combinations to help the audience absorb and retain the data more effectively.
For example, you can use the colors red and blue to indicate high and low temperatures on a graph or choose green when you’re sharing information about an environmental campaign.
5. Select the correct chart
When you present, you want to share data that can provide actionable insights so people can be driven towards making the right decisions.
To effectively do this, you’ll need to choose the right charts that can effectively tell your story and empower your audience to quickly identify patterns and trends.
Are you making comparisons? Then perhaps bar charts may better contrast values across categories. Do you want to demonstrate part-to-whole relationships?
Then stacked bars or waterfall charts may be just what you need. Tailor your chart selection to fit your goals. You may also combine several charts to further explore and generate more profound insights.
6. Be strategic with your text and images
In design, there is such a thing as white space. This refers to the space surrounding and within the design elements. The principle here is that a typical viewer will only be able to absorb 28% of the text on a page.
Therefore, overwhelming your audience with too many words to make the presentation look busy and “heavy” will make you lose their attention in just a few data visualization graphs.
Choosing the most suitable images can also enhance the delivery of your data. For example, when showing a chart about deforestation, you can be creative and instead represent the figures through felled trees, instead of just showing bars.
7. Make your patterns cohesive
When your audience is assaulted by a barrage of random texts and shapes, it will make it very difficult for them to grasp your meaning readily.
Help them easily adjust to your presentation format by keeping it consistent and organized. For example, if your text reads Jan, Feb, etc., make this constant across all slides.
This data visualization can speed up familiarization with your format and enhance readability so the primary focus can be directed towards your message.