Data Viz-tory: Turning Numbers into Stories
Welcome to the world of data visualisation – where the boring and the mundane transform into a vivid and exciting journey of discovery. In today’s world, we are surrounded by an endless stream of information that bombards us every single day. But what good is this data if we can’t make sense of it? That’s where the magic of data visualisation comes in – it allows us to turn raw numbers and statistics into beautiful, insightful, and actionable visual representations. It’s like a superpower that lets us see through the fog of complexity and make better decisions with confidence. So, buckle up and join me on this exciting adventure, as we explore the fascinating world of data visualisation and discover how it can transform the way we see and understand the world around us.
Let’s focus on the importance of being able to visualise data for relevance! As David McCandless, a data journalist and author, said, “Data is the new soil.” And just as farmers need to cultivate their soil to produce a fruitful harvest, we must be able to effectively visualise data to reap its benefits.
In this article, we will explore why it is crucial, what makes for effective data visualisation, and how we can use it to better understand our world.
Why is data visualisation important?
First and foremost, it allows us to see patterns and trends that may not be immediately apparent in raw data. As McCandless points out, “When we’re able to visualise data, it can transform the way we see the world.” This is because our brains are wired to process visual information more quickly and efficiently than text or numbers alone. It is widely quoted in online content that “studies have shown” that we can process images up to 60,000 times faster than text, which is an impressive number. However, there’s little evidence of any original research to back that number up. Here are some slightly less exciting numbers, but at least based on some real research…
In addition to helping us see patterns and trends, visualising data can also help us communicate complex ideas and information more effectively. As McCandless notes, “The beauty of data visualisation is that it can communicate complex ideas with clarity, precision, and efficiency.” This is especially important in today’s data-driven world, where we are constantly bombarded with information from multiple sources. Just like the 60,000 times faster thing, right? Effective visualisation can help us cut through the noise and focus on what’s truly important and get straight to the facts.
What makes for effective data visualisation?
As an expert in the field, Nathan Yau notes, “The goal of visualisation is to communicate a story in a clear and concise way.” To do this, we need to pay attention to both the visual design and the data itself.
When it comes to visual design, we want to create something that is both visually appealing and easy to read. This means using colour, typography, and layout to guide the viewer’s eye and highlight key points. At the same time, we want to avoid clutter and unnecessary distractions that can detract from the message we are trying to convey.
When it comes to the data itself, we want to choose the right type of visualisation to best represent the data. For example, a line graph might be appropriate for showing trends over time, while a scatter plot might be better for showing the relationship between two variables. We also want to make sure that we are accurately representing the data and avoiding any biases or misinterpretations.
Effective data visualisation is all about balance: balancing form and function, aesthetics and usability.
"The beauty of data visualisation is that it can communicate complex ideas with clarity, precision, and efficiency."
- David McCandless
How can we use data visualisation to better understand our world?
Data visualisation can be used in a wide variety of contexts to help us better understand our world. Here are just a few examples:
- In business, data visualisation can help us track key performance indicators and identify areas for improvement.
- In journalism, it can help us tell stories in a more compelling and engaging way.
- In science, it can help us identify patterns and relationships in large datasets.
- In education, it can help us teach complex concepts in a more accessible way.
- In all of these contexts, to be effective, it requires a combination of technical skills and creative thinking. As McCandless notes, “Visualisation is an art and a science, and to be successful, you need to have a deep understanding of both.”
Data visualisation is an essential tool for anyone working with data. It allows us to see patterns and trends that may not be immediately apparent in raw data, communicate complex ideas more effectively, and better understand our world. To be successful, we need to balance form and function, aesthetics, and usability, and have a deep understanding of both the visual design and the data itself. So, let’s get out there and start visualizing our data!
of information shown in a visual is remembered, compared with only 10% of the information that is heard
GX: Frontiers 2023
David McCandless is a data journalist, information designer, and author based in London, UK. He is best known for his work on information graphics and data visualisation, which he uses to transform complex information into engaging visual narratives.
If you find this interesting, you may consider catching up on GX: Frontiers 2023, where David joined us as an expert, warm and engaging speaker who knows how to connect with his audience.
During his talk, David shared his insights on the power of data visuals and how they can be used to transform the way we see the world. He gave practical tips and advice on how to create effective visuals that communicate complex ideas concisely.
Business leaders who attended GX: Frontiers witnessed how data visualisation can be used to drive business insights and make better decisions. They also gained a deeper understanding of how to use visuals to communicate complex ideas and engage audiences.
So why not watch on demand for the first time, or relive this brilliant take on fresh perspectives/
But it’s not just about the practical takeaways – attending any event with David is also a fun and inspiring experience. He is a passionate advocate for the power of visualising your data and his enthusiasm is contagious. You can expect to feel energised and inspired to tell better stories and transform the way you work with data.
Watch on demand
At GX: Frontiers, we discussed the importance of Customer Experience (CX) and the future of customer contact. The value of data visualisation in presenting complex data sets, and being the best version of yourselves and your teams (UX). All with an expo space and special guests throughout the day.