The Why and How of Your Business
Data is a vital part of any business, and new software tools make analyzing that data easier (and cheaper) than ever. Despite the relative ease of crunching the numbers, however, it's often difficult for businesses to explain the full importance of the data to stakeholders, customers, and potential investors.
Visuals become even more vital when trying to convey complex and abstract concepts. Data measures growth, correlates, compares, and reveals insights that are hard to understand in spreadsheets or standard PowerPoint graphs. Delving into such strategic topics through text alone can quickly add up to many dense pages that few people will even begin to read. By conveying your data as rich information in a few elegant slides or a single infographic, you can easily convey its overarching point–and win over the audience in the process.
As with so many things, creating a memorable visual display comes down to skill, and knowing which elements to include (and which to leave off). Every ounce of creative muscle should be applied to creating something that instantly imparts information to the viewer; you don't want frustrated people trying to puzzle out the meaning of the work.
Telling the Story
Which sets of information and visual elements will best illustrate the point? In an ideal scenario, the visualization will make the audience instantly understand the relationships and causality of the data in play.
Slicing and Dicing the Information
Things to consider when building your visualization:
Get to the point
- What's your point?
- How can you prove it?
- Which findings are you trying to compare?
- What information best supports the concept?
- How should it be presented?
- How should it look? (Pie chart/graph/overlaying information, etc.)
- What's the takeaway?
- Why does it matter?
There should also be an attempt to remove as much clutter or "noise" as possible. Lots of data is extraneous; when creating something streamlined, it's important to focus on what matters. If you do it right, you'll have a visualization that instantly conveys even the most complex data effectively. As it is said, a picture is worth a thousand words.