Data visualization is a hot topic in the business world these days. The popularity of data visualization tools has risen dramatically in recent years thanks to the many benefits these tools offer. But what exactly is data visualization? And why should businesses bother investing in data visualization tools?
Put simply, data visualization is converting raw data sets into visual media like graphs, charts, and dashboards. These visualizations depict the information the data contains in a way that’s easy to understand. Often, all the audience needs to do is glance at a visualization to get an idea of what the data says. Some common examples of visualizations include bar charts, scatter plots, and map visualizations.
These data visualizations have more applications in business than one might think. They’re useful for digging into data so teams can find trends or insights they would have otherwise missed. Another key use of this software is sharing insights with various audiences. This article will further explore that particular data visualization use case.
Why Data Visualization Is Beneficial For Presenting Insights
Data visualization helps you discover insights in your data, but it also helps you present those insights. If you want to share your insights, data visualization is an ideal way to do so.
The Brain Responds to Visuals Faster
In general, people engage well with visual media. Even static visualizations capture the audience’s attention much better than text and keep them engaged. After all, research shows that people process visuals an incredible 60,000 times faster than we process text.
Think of what that means for communicating effectively and efficiently with your audience. People looking at a visual representation of the information will be able to process it much faster. Compared to text communication, they’ll get the message quicker and be ready to engage with the information sooner. There’s no time wasted with these visualizations.
Reach a Broad Audience
Often, in-depth discussions of data sets are limited to a company’s designated data analysis team and the business leaders they report their findings to. While there’s no replacing the data team, bringing more people into the discussion is possible without additional training.
You don’t need technical knowledge to engage with data visualizations tools. The audience doesn’t need to know anything about technical analysis, programming, or the like. All they need to do is review the visualization and engage with the information as-is. Depending on the specific data visualization, it may be no more complicated than reading an article in the newspaper that includes an infographic.
Because the information is so accessible in this form, more people from your organization can engage with it. Even if the people in your audience doesn’t have data analysis expertise, your visualizations should still effectively convey the information in your data. It’s data democratization — everyone can engage and offer insights on the data sets.
Tell a Story
A good presentation, whether in person or online, is about more than simply listing off information that you need the audience to know. You have to hold the audience’s attention and make sure they care about what you’re communicating. That’s the only way to ensure the information you share has an effect.
Discussions about data sets can be dry. Many people may feel presentations about this information are boring or tedious. One solution? Incorporating storytelling through data visualization.
Visualizations tell the story of your data through colors, shapes, patterns, and spatial relationships. It will be easier for the audience to understand your message when they can see it represented in the data visualization.
How To Turn Data Into Action
The reason why companies are collecting and purchasing more data than ever is not that data is simply a nice thing to have. Rather, the goal of accumulating this data is to discover information that can act as the foundation of better, smarter business decision-making.
Within large data sets, business leaders can find key details and insights about their own companies, competitors, business environments, and customers. They then need to take those insights and translate them into action. Only then can the data help companies achieve a competitive advantage and greater success.
Follow these steps to go from data to action with data visualization tools:
- Ask the right questions: You may not know exactly what you’re looking for in your data, but think about the types of things you’d like to learn from analyzing the data you collect. Ask specific questions to give you direction while analyzing your data and creating your visualizations.
- Choose the right type of visualization: There are many different types of data visualizations. It’s important to match the type of data set you’re working with to the most appropriate visualization. Choosing the wrong visualization style may be counterproductive and make it more difficult to understand the data.
- Collect insights: Whether through data visualizations or traditional analysis, the most vital step is finding insights in your data. These data-driven insights will be the basis for the actions you take.
- Communicate with stakeholders: Your next step should be sharing your insights and plans with relevant stakeholders. Use visualizations to communicate this information when possible.
- Take action: All that’s left to do once everyone agrees is take action. Put the insights to work and start implementing the new changes or strategies informed by your data.
Driving Your Enterprise Forward with Data Visualization Tools
It’s safe to say that data visualization tools are powerful, versatile software solutions that offer a variety of benefits to businesses. Beyond assisting in deeper data analysis, they also make sharing the insights you discover in your data easier. Use data visualizations to communicate the information you find in your data with everyone — even those without data analysis expertise. Choosing the right tool for your business is key to creating effective data visualizations. If you’re largely dealing with geographic data, for example, you may want to select a visualization tool geared toward map-based visualization. Reach out to Live Earth to learn more about geographic data visualizations and the power of data visualizations to help your enterprise.