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Eye Of The Beholder: Creative Ways To Use Data Visualizations

Eye Of The Beholder: Creative Ways To Use Data Visualizations

On an internal level, companies have become immersed in Big Data, gathering information at astronomical rates. This data often remains within the company – but when using data visualizations, there are many potential applications of company data for reader engagement.

Readers are more data savvy now than at any time before, so tell them a little of what you know. Here are a few creative uses for data visualization that can boost your reader engagement.

Enticing Infographics

Infographics are everywhere these days, but not many use technical data visualization as a tool for increasing knowledge content. This tends to be because companies view most internal knowledge graphs and charts as overly technical for the average audience. It’s true that your readers may not be enthusiastic about your elaborate scatterplot, but that doesn’t mean all data visualization is off limits.

Instead, try updating the old pie graph, a representation that most readers have no difficulty with. Designed to look like the bottom of a space shuttle, “Funding the Final Frontier,” an infographic about NASA’s budget, does this expertly. While the outer edge of the chart uses a standard percentile breakdown, it also includes internal circles that create the desired space shuttle effect while adding an additional information layer about the budget.

The takeaway: Consider whether or not you can use data visualization in a way that is visually relevant to your business. Rather than using a pie chart, for example, you might choose a relevant object and represent it at different scales depending on its percentile value. Readers love content that is visual, relevant, and blends content with clarity. And always make sure the numbers add up. According to Datapine blogger Agata Kwapien, this mathematical mistake is common when surveys allow the respondent to choose more than one answer.

Be A Trend Setter

One of the most valuable uses of Big Data internally is that it can be used to identify emerging trends. A slight change in data values, a direction change on the graph or some outlier points, could mean something new is in the wind. Why not tell your readers about it? Data visualizations offer concrete foundations for trend or prediction pieces. They’re also an opportunity to teach readers about how to use data in a more complex way.

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This is the space where you can offer your readers the same graphic data that your business uses internally and offer a succinct description of how to read it. Then, explain the deduction you’ve made based on this data. If you’re right, your readers will feel smart and ahead of the curve. And if things go wrong, come back with new data and show them what changed.

Engage And Interact

Sometimes all of the data you want to present can be overwhelming, but that doesn’t mean you need to cut some of it out. Rather, you might just need to change the format. One great way to do this is by creating an interactive visualization that adds more data as readers click through it. This gives readers a chance to digest what’s put in front of them and adds complexity to the content.

Interactive visualizations are also advantageous because they often hold reader attention longer than other visuals, since they are doing something while looking at it. An infographic that the reader might otherwise skim over, when broken up into separate, clickable units, becomes the center of reader attention.

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