Connecting the Dots: Interpreting Data Meaningfully to Influence Decisions
An impactful presentation leverages data to influence and connect with the audience. Just imagine… Forbes quotes that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data get created every day! Consequently, presenting such large volumes of data accurately for actionable insights is now a critical business requirement. Additionally, it is important to remember that while the power of data visualization lies in simplifying complex data, good design principles are the backbone of effective visualizations. A well-designed visualization can accurately represent data, bring clarity, and engage the viewer.
In such a scenario, companies are urgently employing experts to make sense of their data through inventive design and translate them into a language that everyone can easily understand. Not only would that help their teams gain actionable insights, but also assist in forming a larger plan of action to improve overall business outcomes. So what can you do to show complex data eloquently in presentations?
Data Visualization and Analysis: Going Beyond the Bar Chart
As you already know, a well-designed presentation is a compelling launch point for data-driven conversations. However, modern approaches to data visualization go beyond simple design. These presentations effectively reduce time-to-insights by introducing innovative ways of showcasing data to interpret business intelligence. For example, an infographic utilizes visuals in the form of graphs or pictures to enable audiences to see patterns and trends easily while helping to tell a story. These creative tools also help by unlocking key values from massive data sets, quickly spotting errors, allowing the audience to identify patterns, and enabling data to have greater recall value.
Impactful data visualization requires a combination of design, storytelling, and analysis skills. Data visualization experts, such as RRD GO Creative™, excel at handling complex tasks requiring specialized skill sets. They offer end-to-end services, transforming disparate data into clean, comprehensive, targeted decks. As data visualization becomes the centerpiece of your presentation, you can select the best visualization mode for presenting the particular data type you want to highlight just as RRD clients do:
- Composition of data - Pies, Stacked Bars, or Area Waterfall charts
- Distribution of data or outliers - Scatter Plots, Lines, Columns, and Bar charts
- Analysis of data trends - Lines, Dual-Axis Lines, or Column charts
- Relationships between data sets - Relationship charts like Scatter Plots, Bubbles, and Lines.
Data Visualization Best Practices: Creating Powerful Presentations the Right Way
Data visualization best practices ensure that visualization is on point, engaging, and error-free, leaving the audience with precise, significant takeaways. In the hands of the right experts that are armed with an ecosystem of digital, design, and data visualization solutions, the entire data visualization process can get simplified for you. Some of the things we need to bear in mind:
- Identify the audience’s unique needs - Choose the presentation data and tools depending on the audience’s knowledge level. For example, not everyone comprehends spider charts, but for a human resource professional, it fits the bill!
- Create a clear narrative - Identify the data to be included based on what you want the audience to take away. If you want to showcase the company’s growth over the last financial year, choose data accordingly and build an effective story.
- Clean data - Ensure all incomplete, duplicate, erroneous, or corrupt data is fixed or removed.
- Leverage color - Highlight data the viewer should pay attention to, or contrast different data sets. For example, if you’re comparing sales for 2021 and 2022, consistently use one color for 2021 and another for 2022 rather than labeling with text. Highlighting outliers or anomalies is easiest with intelligent color usage.
- Use simple visualizations - Be selective about what you present, including text, and remove whatever doesn’t reinforce the data.
Great data visualization tells the story clearly, avoiding distortions. Here are a few common errors to watch out for that lead to incorrect data interpretation:
- Omitting baseline and truncating scale - If the y-axis doesn’t start at zero, it indicates distorted patterns or non-existent trends.
- Zooming in on favorable data - Selectively displaying data, or ‘cherry picking’ to support your point of view, gives viewers partial insight while ignoring contradictory evidence, which leads to incorrect conclusions.
- Grouping unrelated elements or placing them visually close misleads viewers.
Effectively presenting data is a complex task, and utilizing it to help the audience cut through the noise, needs expertise. By helping your teams and customers interpret data in the most meaningful way, you can make a significant contribution to the growth strategy and engagement quotient of your business. Outsourcing presentation work involving large volumes of data that need to be visualized accurately and effectively is the smarter way of working to achieve strategic goals.