4 Tips on How to Turn Your Data into Stunning Visual Content
Data is the new oil. Or the new gold. Someone even called it the new bacon. These comparisons all make sense, kind of. Big data has become a valuable tool that can be used to generate better leads, efficiently study the market, improve your customer service and more. This is especially true for those who work with data on a daily basis, and know how to analyze it to create relevant information.
But what if you work with data every day, and then have to convince others of its worth? Not everyone will get as excited about a large datasheet and seemingly endless amounts of numbers. And if those datasheets are all they can see, they might not be able to understand how valuable the data can be. Hence why it is essential to transform this data into something that speaks to different audiences than just data scientists, for example via data visualization.
Data visualization is the use of data to create an image or some other type of graphic format. It can be a great tool if you want your audience to see results from data more clearly, if you are looking to simplify complexities or if you want to help people understand the point that data is making. You can use data visualization by adding graphics to a PowerPoint presentation, creating an infographic or by adding images to a text. Once you have found the right method for your goal, you can use these 4 tips to make your visuals more appealing:
1. Choose A Focus Point
When people look at an image, they don’t process it in a single glance. Their eyes constantly move and focus on points so that they can take everything in at rapid speed. If your visual content doesn’t have clear highlights, the eyes of the reader or viewer follow a random pattern until they have scanned the entire image.
You can make it easier for your audience to detect the highlights from the data, by choosing a point that you want them to focus on first. Do this by blurring the background, adding text with a different color or a bold look for more emphasis or by adding a bigger headline to tell them what the data is about.
2. Differentiate Within Content
After you have helped people to determine what they should focus on first, you can provide them with a reading map for the rest of the data. You can differentiate your content to show importance or divide your text and images into topics. This can be done through emphasizing a headline, putting a focus on keywords with a different color and ensuring that there is a clear distinction between the text and images. You can add colored blocks behind your text, for example, if you want to draw attention to it.
3. Use Patterns for Clarity
People might not realize it, but we all love patterns. It makes it easier for us to understand what we are seeing and helps us process information that is put in front of us. If there are too many patterns in a single image or presentation, we get confused and tend to forget parts of the information or stop paying attention.
You should therefore make sure that there is a pattern within your visualization. This can be done by aligning all text the same way, using the same font everywhere and only differ in size and color, or by adding bullet points if needed. Keep in mind that we look for patterns even when they aren’t intended, so only use graphs and text in the same color if they really belong together.
4. Simplify for Readability
We all know those PowerPoint slides that are meant to support a presentation, but are completely full of text. They distract the reader or viewer from what is being said. You should use this fact in designing your data visualization.
If you minimize the amount of text and speak visually where possible, it will be easier for those looking at your visualization to understand the data. You can use certain visual cues to add information, such as a graphic of a beer glass when you are writing about beer consumption. Or add a company logo when you are discussing that company. In choosing to add visuals to your data for better readability, you should always use high quality images. It is no problem to later adjust these images to fit your visualization, but a low-quality photo will distract from the point you are trying to make.
You don’t have to be a designer to create visually appealing content. These tips will help you with presenting your data in such a way that others can process it. We also use graphs in our platform to create a clear picture for our customers. Interested in the data we can offer? You can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.