Data Visualization Best Practices and Principles Every Designer Should Know

Data Visualization Best Practices and Principles Every Designer Should Know

Today with the advancement of technology, we have access to a significant amount of data. And eventually, this data has been growing increasingly complex every year. The real problem starts when we fail to manage this considerable data resource and cannot use them in the right way. Hence, to solve this problem faced by companies today, industry experts have developed the idea of data visualization. Presenting data in pictorial forms (charts or graphs) has become fundamentally important for all of us. But the work is tricky and we need data visualization best practices for effective data management.

What is Data Visualization

With the growing importance of visual communication, data visualization has captured every heart. This type of visual communication allows us to create, study and share data in a graphical manner so that the viewer can understand complex information according to its relevance and priority. Data graphic enables us to represent numbers by charts and various images for impactful information dissemination.

Why Data Visualization is Important

The human brain processes information quickly when it is presented using charts or graphs. So, in this fast moving age, it has become imperative to show complex data and report through graphs and charts. Through innovative data visualization, a company can convey concepts quickly and easily. So, every marketer today is turning into creating data visualization infographics and the like. Of all marketing and communication tools, data visualization is one of the proven tools to bridge the communication gap between the business and its audience.

Take a look at some of the benefits of data visualization.

  • Helps you identify areas that need attention or improvement
  • Enables you to clarify factors influencing customer behavior
  • Allows you to understand where to place which products
  • Allows you to predict sales volumes

We have listed a few data visualization best practices for you here. Following the data visualization best practices 2018 you will be able to pull off an enormous amount of data into a finite space and communicate accurately with your audience.

humans-love-good-visuals

Mentioned below are 5 Data Visualization best practices and principles every designer should know:

1. Use Prominent Visuals To Direct Audience Attention

Data visualization can be impactful only if you give justified prominence to the visual elements. As data visualization is about different types of charts and graphs, it’s really tricky to identify which types are best for presenting the visualizing data. Hence considering visual salience is essential. According to data visualization principles, if you make a visual element stand out against its surroundings, viewers would understand the importance of the message conveyed. Highlight essential details with visible variables like color and size. Focus on color schemes and use colors to appeal to the viewer’s eyes.

2. Emphasize on Designing for Mobile

Mobile-first indexing is one of the vital factors today if you want to stay ahead of your competitors. Google has rolled out this feature which means your site should be mobile-friendly. Hence plan to incorporate charts and graphs to leverage compelling mobile viewing.

We have collected a few mobile design tips for you. Take a look below.

  • Contrast Plays a Crucial Role in Your Design

Create graphs and charts with contrasting colors for the background. This way you can present you viewers with detailed information.

  • Use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for Images to Look Great

Cascading style sheets help you to create images that are visually appealing whether in a desktop or mobile device. CSS is a proven app that allows you to customize how things look for each device without having to change the underlying HTML code.

  • Considering Optimizing Images from the Beginning

Optimizing images is a tricky job so, relying only on CSS to resize large photos would not suffice. You need to focus on optimizing for speed even before uploading your pictures.

  • Ensure Mobile Chart Designs are from Top Left To Bottom Right

In a mobile chart design, the most critical information should be on the top left. Along with it, there should be appropriate color coding.

3. Balance Complex Design Elements To Render Clarity

The human eye processes visual attributes that are easily decipherable. According to the Gestalt principles, we can recognize those messages quickly that are prominent in our perception. The perception becomes prominent when we include visual properties like – color, form, movement (which provides for continuity), spatial positioning etc. However, the primary purpose of Gestalt principles is to create an orderly image so that humans can gain meaningful perceptions amidst disorders. Hence, while creating the data visualization, you need to balance all these elements in the right way. Needless to say, visual properties would make your presentation magnetic. The goal is to arrange the visual elements like shape, color, negative space and texture equally throughout the design. Experts suggest several ways how you can create balance in the visual elements to render clarity of the information conferred.

Following are the two different types of balance all the design elements-

  • Symmetrical: Create visuals incorporating all design elements equally on all sides.
  • Asymmetrical: Make a visual presentation where both sides are different, yet the picture have a visual weight.

balance-complex-design-elements-to-render-clarity

4. Use Effective Tools To Arrange a Huge Set of Analyzable Data

Data visualization consists of varied and complex information and features charts, graphs, infographics, videos and also modern elements like virtual reality and augmented reality. Undeniably managing this data are more than challenging. Hence you need specific tools to bring all these data together and present in a meaningful way to your clients. Take a look at some of the most preferred data visualization tools which are available as free as well as in paid versions-

Tableau

Tableau is one of the renowned software that handles typical significant data operations efficiently. Tableau boasts of having advanced database solutions to deal with artificial intelligence and machine-learning applications. Industry experts consider Tableau a proven and useful tool to produce visuals and graphics providing a new edge to the data visualization.

Highcharts

Highcharts is another essential tool that can assist you in creating the best data visualization. It is preferred by many because it offers quick and flexible solutions. The tool has unique features and that is the reason why users find it useful than that of its competitors. The tool offers cross-browser support, according to this feature; anyone can access and run this visualization.

Plotly

Building Data Visualization involves a lot of effort. But when there’s a tool like Plotly, your task becomes easier. It is a tool that enables you to produce more polished and complicated visualizations. Using Plotly, you can generate more polished and intricate visualizations. The tool integrates Python, R, Matlab and other similar analytics-related programming languages.

Domo Review

Domo is a great tool to connect the widest data set and deliver a unique social collaboration. Domo is a business management tool that integrates with multiple data sources, including social media, spreadsheets, databases etc.

5. Keep Data Arranged and Consistent

While compiling and presenting a big set of data, it’s necessary that you maintain consistency. A coherent design makes it easily decipherable. It’s ideal to create a hierarchy of data relevantly showing the various data points. Data visualization analysis reports that if you arrange data from highest to lowest order and emphasize the largest values. You can easily display a category that is more important to users in a prominent way.

Your Turn

Data visualization is about communicating a data set clearly to the target audience with the help of graphics. People nowadays understand complicated information when they are presented through visual presentations. Hence to present the best visualizations and easily comprehendible data follow the above principles and best practices. Needless to say, you would be able to represent complex information in a simplified way to make it genuinely useful to your audience.

Infographic Design Team helps you to create one of the best data visualizations for your target audience. We have talented graphic designers who assist you in the presenting the right data and deliver to you an excellent piece of work that your target client cannot avoid noticing and getting allured to.

10 Ways Data Visualization is Leveraged by Successful Marketers

10 Ways Data Visualization is Leveraged by Successful Marketers

It is never quite an unfamiliar situation when you are asked to conduct a presentation on your company’s annual turnover and other projections to your stakeholders. Often we find ourselves in a position where we have to effectively convey a considerable mass of data to to a great number of audience. Here’s where data visualization comes in to save the day.

The current digital ecosystem is such a place wherein data should be presented visually and not in paragraphs or sentences. Long sentences are considered tad boring and lack the potentiality to grab attention. However, the visual presentation of data is not always easy and involves well thought out planning.

Sometimes, plain numbers and statistics don’t give the whole picture. However, when supported by finely designed graphs, charts and tables, they evoke the intended effect. Each day, a company produces a massive amount of data. Managing this steady flow of Big Data gets strenuous without a proper visualization strategy.

Given the fact that visuals breathe life into a huge pile of otherwise bland information, this technique of information display has become a vital marketing tool. When your audience witnesses the novel way you have presented your data, they get impressed. And that’s how you win over the crowd.

The importance of data visualization can never be belittled. And the more this concept is evolving with time, the more we see various ways they are leveraged for business profits. Data visualization tableau is all about architecture; the careful choice of graphics, the linear flow, the patterns – everything matters when you create a visual piece.

Myriads of data visualization examples are scattered all over the digital realm. The primary challenge lies in choosing which kind of visuals will work for your purpose. And what sort of interpretation your target audience would grasp. Visual data demands excellent story-telling. Hone your story-telling skill to spawn a competent visual piece.

The top 5 data visualization techniques that every marketer must know:

A. Gauge your Audience

Every individual is different from the other from every perspective. What is engaging to one person, might not be to another. Don’t assume before you start creating your visual piece. Ensure that you do both – engage and cater. Along with engaging the audience, see that the visuals cater to every one of your audience. Some people are happy with simple pie charts, but some want further minute details.

So always perform prior research of the audience you are about to face and try to map their preferences. Not saying you would hit the bull’s eye in your first attempt. But with experience, you would become a pro at it.

B. Don’t Forget – Colors Play a Crucial Role

Keeping the right color balance is important, never let anything ruin that. Right colors will seal your success pretty fast and also enhance your presentation assets to a great extent. Don’t play with too many colors and create a visual jerk. Stick to one or two primary colors and use contrasts to differentiate between elements, such as red for negative and green for positive.

Simply put, use colors in such a way that the intended message gets duly conveyed.

colors-play-a-crucial-role

C. Give Importance to Hierarchy

Even if you are an evangelist for equality in every stage of life, while creating a presentation for your target audience, you have to give way to hierarchy. Maintaining this fundamental element is paramount. Because that’s what makes your audience understand which data to give the most attention, and which not to.

Hierarchy, layout and order must be in perfect order. A clearly labeled data is easier to decipher than an ambiguous one.

D. Get… Set… Goal!

Your content is incomplete until you set a goal for yourself. As to why you are preparing it and what kind of purpose it will serve to you or to your company as a whole. By establishing a set goal, you create a real collaborative environment that ultimately serves your purpose.

Use a set of predetermined KPIs to project your visual story and measure the success of your effort.

E. Harness the Power of Network Graphics and Word Clouds/Graphics

While dealing with unstructured or semi-structured data in your visual content, try using network diagrams and word clouds. Though the two are used for separate purposes, these are intertwined. Network diagrams are apt for data analysts, network engineers, data architectures and designers, to fathom the sequence of each data.

While word clouds are graphics that are made with words that are contextually related. The amusing thing of a word cloud is, the size of each word determines its importance within the context. The smaller the size, lesser is the importance, and vice versa!

These kinds of graphical assets not only embellish your data, but also establish your dexterity.

So these were some of the data visualization techniques that marketers must be paying heed to. Now talking about how to leverage them, let’s raise the curtain to unveil the many ways data visualization can be leveraged by marketers (read successful marketers :))!

1. Line Charts

Line graphs are best to demonstrate trends over time or comparison between to variables. Extremely appropriate in the fields of statistics or denoting sales figures, annual turnovers, profit margins, so and so. Depicting the changes or trends over a period of time, line graphs are perfect making predictions about results that are not yet recorded.

2. Maps

Maps are the hot favorite in any board meeting as they give a better ability to understand an organization’s locations all over the world. Through a map, your visual demonstration gets enhanced ten-fold as it gives a quick view of the company’s activity across multiple locations.

In data analysis, we sometimes use geographic locations and spatial data to measure success and failure. Maps give a more intuitive, easy to understand data analysis to the company leaders to point out the loopholes.

3. Pie Chart

Though we know pie charts have been done to death, still these engaging visual pies are enough to grab the attention of the onlookers. Pie charts are convenient to showcase relative proportions of multiple cases, to summarize a large data set and display the proportional formation of a certain variable. And when designed right, pie charts effectively disseminate information to even an uninformed audience.

pie-chart-graphic

4. Column Chart

Column charts are similar to bar charts, but the primary difference is column charts show data as a set of rectangular columns. These kinds of charts support in visualizing data by showing data comparisons of different values.

Changes over time by displaying comparisons, for e.g.; data of state-wise votes and which state performed the best, showing average subject scores to determine which subjects the students lag in – these kinds of data can be visually showed through column charts.

5. Gauge Chart

A simple gauge chart can effectively showcase an immediate trend indication and are apt for financial or executive reports. Gauge charts are fundamentally used to display progress against KPIs, whether a marketing effort is in the right direction or not, whether the effort is above or below the target.

A gauge chart or gauge indicator could determine all these. You can make this all the more effective by incorporating color coding, like red or green, or up and down arrows – denoting positive and negative, respectively.

6. Area Chart

Depicting a time-series relationship, area charts work really well in displaying data in chronological order. Area charts are mainly used for business meetings to give a sense of the overall volume of revenue and cost. Based on the line chart, this kind of charts can be easily misinterpreted if not handled rightly.

Visualizations like these can be greatly leveraged for business. These help to impose a reality check on the revenue estimations and are mainly used to communicate the magnitude of a trend.

7. Number Chart

If you intend to exhibit any immediate and interactive overview of a KPI, number charts come in handy. Be it a sale key performance indicator, or percentage of evolution or website traffic, number charts can bring out the actual analytics and thus visually enhances the presentation.

8. Bar Chart

Another remarkable tool in your arsenal is the bar chart. Bar graphs are primarily the pictorial depiction of analytical and statistical data. These charts are immensely helpful to compare different values and show all the data categories in a frequency distribution. A marketer can aptly win over an audience by incorporating bar charts into his/her visual presentation.

bar-chart-graphic

9. Pivot Table

Unlike the plain and simple tables inserted into any visual piece, marketers can leverage their visualization strategy with pivot tables. These program tools don’t have the reputation of looking too cool and beautiful though. Yet when key stats and figures are required to extract quickly, pivot tables make things easier.

Pivot tables make data analysis a lot simple and allow the user to summarize the rows and columns. On can get valuable insights from a pivot without any hassle. For e.g., complex data of a hospital can be summarized to generate a detailed view of the number of patients, overall cost and average days admitted. Simply put, pivot tables are pivotal elements in the whole visualization landscape.

10. Scatter and Bubble Charts

Scatter and Bubble charts are somewhat similar to each other pertaining to the way they present data. They are mainly used to depict the relationship between and the distribution of two variables. Moreover, when there are a few categories that are highly significant instead of their lesser significant counterparts.

The categories are represented by color, and the volumes by the size of the circles. These charts are suitably used to prove political stances, but can also be put to use in business. in case you have to determine the areas of highest expenditure or any misplaced priorities, to curb the increasing costs.

Turning Over To You

So here starts your visual journey. With all said and done, we hope you have now got a pretty good idea about the different ways in which one can leverage data visualization. Well honestly, there are more of these charts and graphs, data visualization types can be many. But the ones listed above are potent enough to furnish your visualization effort.

However, no matter which visual genre you choose for your business purpose, ensure they engage, convey and convert people. To make any visualization effective, the data must be accurate – the content must be avante-garde. Because content is still the king! So you have to get your content enough crisp and engaging to get that desired traction.

So now it’s your turn to create your own visual data piece and impress your audience. Give it a spin and present your audience with a powerful visual experience. Whether you get help from a pro, or you do it all by yourself, make sure your audience can interact with the data and is left with no confusion. That will ultimately cement your stature as an industry expert!