Humans are biologically made to pay attention and process aesthetically pleasing visuals better than rows of numbers or a litany of words. After all, almost half of our brain is devoted to processing visual information to understand our surroundings better. People have also been found out to remember more than 2000 pictures with 90% accuracy in recognition tests owing to the ability of images to engage multiple associations with other knowledge for better memory encoding. This is why the trend of data visualization is becoming popular to maximize this hardwired human predilection.
Businesses deal with numerous and complex data sets to make sense of insights and events. Mortgage lenders, for example, deal with sales, loan rates, financial forecasts, and other areas – sometimes having multidimensional relationships with other data categories. Being able to present data in an understandable manner is critical to business success. Data visualization is more than inserting a map of Utah or a table of numbers on a deck slide. One needs to highlight the relationships and narrative behind the numbers and statistics for messages to reach the target audience. Follow these tips to avoid common pitfalls in designing your visualizations.
1. Always label your charts and graphs correctly.
Label your visualizations clearly for your audience to understand what you’re trying to say. Use horizontal labels for x-axis graphs while it’s best to directly label the different parts of line and pie charts to save people the trouble of matching colors with the legend.
2. Call out important information.
Make the analysis easy to find when presenting your data by highlighting them using bold texts, arrows, or contrasting colors. You want your audience to absorb the main takeaways you want them to remember quickly.
3. Be consistent with your color scheme and design.
You are not trying to create a rainbow on your work. Stick to a singular color scheme to make your graphs look clean and modern than utilizing high contrast colors like blue and yellow bars together, which will make things cluttered. One option is to use complementary color schemes, which are colors found across each other on the color wheel, since they contain tints of each other’s hue.
4. Order data sets logically.
Ordering your data intuitively will make it easier for your audience to follow your train of thought. Bar charts, for example, are better organized with ascending or descending values read from left-to-right. This method also helps highlight vital categories that people should pay attention to.
5. Avoid using 3D and picturesque charts.
3D charts might look more sophisticated but can take away readability from your visualization. The tilting design skews what the data actually means to the reader, leading to misunderstanding and incorrect arguments.
Data visualization can showcase many kinds of relationships and valuable insights relevant to business operations – trends over time, frequency, risk analysis, and even timelines. This visual summary can communicate patterns and findings with ease without readers spending a lot of time scratching their heads to know what you’re trying to say. Don’t forget to be conscious of design and color theories to make the practice effective.