10 Powerful Data Visualization Techniques to Derive Actionable Insights
In the world of big data, there’s a pressing need for businesses to integrate data visualization into their business strategy. However, the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to be a data expert to drive actionable insights out of those numbers.
Getting the hang of some of the common techniques for data visualization can go a long way toward reaping the rewards of pictorial strengths for making data-driven decisions. By presenting your data analysis in the form of interactive graphics, you amplify your messaging and provide a clear understanding of critical concepts universally to all stakeholders and decision-makers.
What Are Data Visualization Techniques?
A picture is worth a thousand words, considering that the human brain can process high-quality infographics faster than plain text. In fact, you might also have been in situations where you felt that grasping new knowledge is a lot easier through visuals, like charts, graphs, and so on. That’s why data visualization comes in handy for facilitating the easy interpretation of data.
Choosing the right techniques and tools is the key to visualizing data in an effective way. Here you can learn about some important data visualization techniques so that you know when and which ones to use.
10 Best Data Visualization Techniques For Your Business
- Be Audience-Specific
Identifying your audience and what is most significant for them is the first step for creating interactive data visualization. A report meant to aid subject-matter experts will always be different from the one prepared for non-specialists.
A simple pie chart would work wonders with some clients, while other stakeholders or situations may require you to present with a higher level of detail. Therefore, before any meeting, conduct research on what you are presenting and to what kind of audience to ensure maximum impact.
- Establish Your Goals
Before you get started with your charts, graphs, reports, or other visual presentations, it is important to define a clear set of goals. You should first sit down with the parties involved in the project and together establish your ultimate objectives as well as the kind of data analysis that will get you there.
Using predefined Key Performance Indicators (KPI) is one of the sure-fire ways to craft your data visualizations. The insights obtained will further dictate your efforts toward your desired goals for a campaign, project, or ongoing commercial endeavor.
- Know The Right Chart Type
The relevance of selecting the right set of visuals for your specific data, audience, project, and purpose can’t be emphasized enough. For example, if you want to show a change over a specific period, a line graph can be a simple yet effective form of visualization. Here are some of the popular data visualization shapes, and the common concepts each can visualize:
(a). Number charts
To present a real-time overview of a certain KPI representing sales, engagement levels, site visitations, or other topics.
To put forth extensive geographical information in an easily digestible way and inspire engagement.
(c). Pie charts
To show a proportional composition of different variables over a predefined period of time.
- Gauge charts
To present an immediate trend indication. Gauge charts can also bring a single data point or value to life.
- Heed The Color Theory
Choosing the right color scheme will enhance the way your visualization models communicate data. Different colors appearing harmoniously to signify assets and variables can help grab people’s attention and influence their perception.
However, you should not use too many colors and overwhelm your audience with a rainbow effect. Try to build a consistent color scheme across all graphs and charts, and use clear contrasts to demonstrate opposite elements, like red to show a negative trend and green to show a positive trend.
- Include Comparisons
Try to create as many tangible comparisons as possible for an impactful presentation of insights. To bring out a contrasting image of a specific set of information over different time periods, you can juxtapose the related sets of graphs, diagrams, or charts.
For example, you can present sales records of two or more different quarters or years next to one another to easily make a point. You will also be able to emphasize the impact of your data or show trends, troughs, peaks, strengths, and weaknesses for others to contemplate and act upon.
- Handle Your Big Data Effectively
Today’s fast-paced, digital world is generating an overwhelming amount of data per second. Handling this wealth of data and visualizing it for insights has become quite a challenge. Here are some handy tips to help you work with your big data to obtain condensed, rational, and lucid visualizations.
- Decide what data is available and most valuable for your business. Create different categories of information to allow for separate analyses.
- Ensure that all teams and participants are on the same page in their understanding of the source of the data and its accessibility to ensure that the data is handled smoothly across departments.
- Protect your data, and ensure a straightforward and intuitive visualization process through simple handling systems.
- Set Priority Levels with Ordering, Layout, & Hierarchy
Once you have sorted your big data and determined different branches of information that are valuable for your organization’s goals, it’s time to delve even deeper. Create a hierarchy of the data while labeling each level clearly. A color-coded, numeric, or another system that fits your purpose can be used.
Now that you have different sets of data, assign each set a visualization model or chart type that can present the insights in the best possible manner.
- Leverage Network Diagrams & Tag Clouds
Seek the services of network diagrams and tag clouds to efficiently work with semi-structured or unstructured data.
A network diagram draws a network into a graphical chart. This layout helps network engineers and data analyst resources in compiling well-rounded network documentation.
In contrast, a tag cloud depicts keyword metadata, free-form text, or any complex sets of unstructured information. Unlike graphical assets, a tag cloud is an image consolidating the words that particularly appear in relation to a topic or subject. The words present in a tag cloud image vary in size, indicating the frequency or importance of each.
- Tell Your Story
Akin to content marketing, data visualization also aids in impressing your audience with a well-presented story. Reports and presentations created in a visual format can help you convey an important message or goal or elicit the response you desire.
To this end, begin by collating your information with a writer’s mindset, creating a proper introduction, explanation, and conclusion. Sprinkle the story with the right amount of conflicts along with their resolutions to maximize the impact of your visualizations.
- Employ Visualization Tools
Using digital tools enables you to efficiently gather your data and make critical decisions. For this purpose, a task-specific online dashboard or data visualization tool can ensure that your data is collected, collated, categorized, and presented in an interactive and digestible way – ensuring maximum impact of your techniques while taking less time.