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Every Number Can Tell a Story: The Art and Business of Data Visualization

by Dashboard Insight, Dashboard InsightTuesday, January 28, 2014

How you present your data and what information you select to display has to do with what story it is that you want to tell with your data. There is an art and a science to data presentation / data visualization. What data you are displaying is as important as how it is displayed. Make an error in either and the results could be disastrous. Jeff Shjarback has written an article for Business2Community on the art and business of data visualization as it relates to the stories that our data can tell:

Statisticians look for clarity in numbers. Artists understand how color and shape appeal to, and influence, people. Marketing professionals can combine the clarity of numbers with the appeal of graphics, using data visualization (DV) tools.

If you’ve ever used a spreadsheet or presentation program, you’re probably familiar with the simple graphic tools they contain for creating line graphs, bar charts or pie charts. DV tools combine that simple approach with the power of graphics software to create much more sophisticated displays. By mixing data with charts, maps or pictures, and allowing the variables in the data to be changed, DV tools create powerful narratives that can show success stories, highlight customer attitudes, reveal gaps in sales penetration, show trends and much more. In short, DV tools provide structure by turning data sets into stories, tales that help people to gain an intuitive grasp of the underlying statistics or theme of the presentation or report.

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