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.