These days, data is everything. Many businesses rely on it to make informed decisions that help them grow and succeed. That said, data can be overwhelming, especially when it’s presented in its raw form. This is where data visualisation comes in. It’s an excellent tool that helps businesses communicate insights from their data in a clear and concise manner.
Data visualisation is the practice of representing data and information in graphical or visual formats. Visualisations come in many different forms, including graphs, charts, maps and diagrams. It’s a way of displaying complex datasets in a simplified and more understandable manner. This enables businesses to communicate insights and patterns that may otherwise be lost in large amounts of raw data.
Why is data visualisation important?
Visualisations can help to identify correlations and relationships between different data points, which can lead to new insights and opportunities for business growth.By presenting data visually, companies can identify areas where performance is lagging and take action to address these issues. Through data-driven insights on dashboards or other reporting tools, organisations can track progress and monitor performance over time.
The first step for companies is to identify what data they need to visualise. This might include sales data, customer feedback, website analytics or social media metrics. Once the dataset has been selected, the next step is to choose an appropriate visualisation type that best represents the data.
There are a number of data visualisation tools that are user-friendly and affordable. These tools offer a range of templates and design elements that can assist in the creation of professional-looking visualisations without the need for extensive design or coding skills.
Common types of data visualisation
There are a few common visualisations that can be used to effectively communicate insights and trends. These include:
- Bar charts – A simple and effective way to compare data across categories. They can be used to visualise sales data by product, customer feedback scores by product or service or website traffic by source.
- Line charts – Commonly used for showing trends over time. For example, companies can use line charts to visualise website traffic over a period of months, sales figures over a period of years or customer feedback scores over a period of quarters.
- Pie charts – A useful way to show proportions or percentages. These graphics can be used to show the distribution of customer demographics, the percentage of revenue by product or service or the breakdown of website traffic by source.
- Scatter plots – an effective way to show the relationship between two variables. For instance, scatter plots can be used to visualise the correlation between website traffic and customer engagement, or between sales figures and marketing spend.
- Heat maps – Often used to show patterns or trends across a large dataset. Use cases include the visualisation of customer demographics across a geographic area, or the distribution of website traffic by time of day.
Data visualisation without coding experience
One of the great things about data visualisation is that it can be done without extensive coding experience. There are a variety of tools available that make it easy for non-technical users to create effective and impactful visualisations.
A popular tool that doesn’t require much technical know-how is Google Data Studio. This free tool allows users to create interactive and dynamic dashboards using data from a variety of sources. Users can drag and drop charts and graphs onto a canvas and customise them with different colours, fonts and styles. Google Data Studio also offers a range of templates and design elements.
Another popular tool for non-technical users is Tableau Public. It allows the creation of interactive and shareable visualisations using data from several sources. Similar to Google Data Studio, it also has drag-and-drop functionality and professional-looking templates to choose from.
Tips for making effective visualisations
Creating effective visualisations requires more than just selecting the right chart type and dragging and dropping data onto a canvas. Here are some tips for creating effective visualisations that communicate insights and trends to stakeholders:
- Know your audience – Consider the level of technical expertise, familiarity with the data, and the goals of the audience when selecting the appropriate visualisation type and formatting the visualisation.
- Keep it simple – Effective visualisations should be easy to understand and interpret. Avoid cluttering visualisations with unnecessary data or design elements. Keep the focus on the data being presented and use simple design elements.
- Use appropriate visualisation types – Different types of data require different types of visualisations. Choose the appropriate type for the data being presented.
- Use colour and formatting effectively – Draw attention to key insights and trends in the data. Use colour sparingly and consistently and avoid using too many different colours in a single visualisation. Use formatting elements such as headings, labels and annotations to highlight key points and insights.
- Test and iterate – Get feedback from stakeholders and make adjustments as necessary to improve the visualisation’s effectiveness.
Data visualisation is a useful tool for businesses looking to gain insights, identify trends and communicate information effectively. reating effective visualisations requires careful consideration of the audience, appropriate visualisation types and effective use of design elements. With the availability of free and low-cost tools, anyone can leverage the power of data visualisation, even without a lot of technical expertise.
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