Slidegenius, Inc.

Data Storytelling: Combining Relevant Data with Impactful Design

We live in a data-driven world. Whether you’re a budding social media influencer, startup entrepreneur, or big business expert, data is essential for developing meaningful insights that will positively impact your actions and decision-making.  

But because technology is advancing so quickly, it’s become increasingly difficult to navigate through the immense amounts of data that is available. Even beyond business settings, we are faced with copious amounts of data on the news and social media, but they are not always distilled in ways most people can understand.  

Making data more understandable is the primary goal of proper data visualization and storytelling.  

In a time when data is so abundant, experts must utilize design to transform raw numbers and information into visual narratives capable of deeply connecting with an audience. In this article, we will delve into what makes data storytelling meaningful and effective within today’s landscape.  

Crafting a Narrative Centered on Data  

Data storytelling gives meaning and context to the data you’re expressing. While using simple charts and tables to express data is not a new concept, building a narrative around these visuals adds greater depth and understanding to your message.  

Consider the basic elements of a story’s structure:  

  • Introduction – Establish the core message behind your data to set the narrative in motion.
  • Rising Action – Present the key data points that support the main message of the presentation. 
  • Climax – The culminating piece of information that ties everything together.  
  • Conclusion – The course of action you want your audience to take with information presented.  

Establishing a narrative makes it easier for audiences to naturally follow the points being raised without feeling too overwhelmed by everything that is presented.

Utilizing with the Right Visuals  

People turn to data when they want to learn more about the world and generate deeper insights. Choosing the appropriate visual approach to present key facts can significantly amplify the impact of the data presented. 

Some samples and their usage include: 

  • Line charts – For depicting progression of data over a set amount of time 
  • Pie charts – For expressing the value of various pieces that fit into a whole 
  • Bar charts – For showing clear comparisons between different data categories 
  • Heat maps – For representing data on a geographical scale 

Infographics, on the other hand, are an entirely different beast on their own. These take plenty of effort to create but are easily among the most visually engaging ways of expressing data. As an example, using infographics as social media content extends engagement to wider audiences.  

Embracing the Power of Data Storytelling  

We are visual learners. The importance of and access to data will only continue to grow. With that growth will come an even greater need for skillful data storytelling. Data has proven to be an essential resource for growing businesses and brands. It’s more critical than ever that we learn how to better analyze and express the bigger messages that lie behind the information. By further developing the skills in data storytelling, professionals can significantly expand their abilities to effectively communicate rich insights and start making more impactful actions.  

Are You Using the Full Power of PowerPoint to Tell Your Story?

When it comes down to creating a PowerPoint presentation, most people only scratch the surface of what the program is capable of.  

After all, that’s the beauty of it.  

PowerPoint is packed with features simple enough for anyone to use when preparing a presentation.  

When it comes to showcasing your business, however, using only the basic features can lead to bland slides. Going beyond the surface of PowerPoint will reveal an extensive suite of tools to help make your presentation more effective and visually pleasing.  

With the right skills and know-how, you can maximize the full resources of PowerPoint.  

Here are three great functions that will help make your next presentation stand out: 

Custom Vectors 

Templates are among the basic features built into PowerPoint. From the get-go, the program offers a wide range of templates suitable for different purposes. However, PowerPoint has been around long enough that almost anyone can easily recognize if someone is using one of the built-in templates. On paper, it’s great having the option to choose from these templates. But really, these lack the personal flair to make your presentation stand out. 

On the other hand, PowerPoint comes equipped with tools that allow you to create your own personal templates and designs. From the way you design text boxes to the graphic elements used throughout the presentation, these vectors will greatly influence how your presentation is internalized by audiences. By virtue of presenting designs that are “custom,” you are showing audiences something that’s visually unique to your brand, making it easier for them to remember your presentation. 

Stylized Charts and Tables 

A cardinal sin in presentation design that many people still commit is the act of pasting raw data sheets onto their slides. This is wrong for multiple reasons:  

  1. Raw data is difficult to interpret quickly. 
  1. It’s visually unappealing looking at a page of unfiltered text and numbers. 

What many people don’t realize is that PowerPoint has direct functionality with Excel. You can simply link an Excel sheet within PowerPoint to generate charts and tables using data from the file. You can edit and stylize these tables to your liking with ease. 

Additionally, if you have the time and skills to do so, we recommend designing charts and tables using your own custom vectors. This follows the logic discussed above. Showcasing data using custom vectors will help emphasize key pieces of information, which makes it easier for audiences to absorb and retain your core message.

Slide Animations  

It is often debated whether slide animations are necessary for making an impactful presentation. Many believe animations help make presentations be more visually engaging for audiences. While others consider animations to be distracting and overly complicated. However, the answer is not that black or white. Animation is all about balance and purpose.  

To the naysayers’ point, many presenters overuse and misuse animations. When used correctly, however, animations can emphasize key points of each slide.  

Naturally, movement draws people’s attention. Even the most subtle animations, like fades and lines, can dictate how audiences absorb information. In remote settings, animations can help re-engage the focus of your audience.

When you use its different capabilities cohesively, PowerPoint is among the most powerful tools for expressing messages and narratives. PowerPoint has everything you will ever need to showcase the best points about your business in unique and engaging ways.