When preparing to share data, asking three questions will help you pick the right approach: Who is the audience? What is the "wow factor"? Why is sharing the data exciting? Amy Balliett reviews these questions and why they're important for you to ask before moving forward.
- [Instructor] When thinking about the context of your design and how that impacts your data visualization, you might be wondering how to get that context in the first place. Well, here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you properly visualize your data. Question one, who is your target audience? This will help you understand what drives this audience. What numbers will mean more to them than others? What will help them make a decision to act? What visual cues will speak to them the most? Here's an example of one of my favorite bar charts that we completed.
While I don't suggest making bars into visuals all the time, this is a situation where it worked very well. That's because beakers aren't too different than bars, so we're still working with a uniform set of objects. The reason I like this visualization is because it takes the audience into consideration. It uses a visual that speaks directly to the target audience, which is educators with a specific focus on science teachers. It also displays the numbers important to that audience in the easiest-to-digest way, a simple bar graph.
Question two. Is there a wow factor in the data? As you review all of the data you need to visualize, consider which data stands out more than the rest. Is there information that made you stop and say wow? If so, then maybe that data should be the hero of your story. If, on the other hand, the data doesn't really stand out to you, maybe it's time to dig deeper. As an example, my company did a series of micro-narratives called Numbers to Unite.
The point of this series was to show unifying information that might surprise people and encourage them to share on social media. One day, we had a data point that the team wanted to show, which stated that an estimated 3.3 to 4.6 million women attended the 2017 Women's March. While it was somewhat interesting, it left me thinking, so what? This is how I knew it wasn't a wow data point. I wanted something more compelling, so we dug deeper until we found that this actually made the Women's March the largest demonstration in US history.
Question three. Why am I showing this data? Much like knowing your audience, it's important to know what conclusions you want to drive with your data. Understanding this will help you organize your data into a story that drives your point home. It will also help you determine whether to group your bar graphs from highest to lowest, or lowest to highest. For example, when we were creating the Women's March micro-narrative, we knew that we wanted to lead with the size of the Women's March.
Knowing that we wanted to lead with this fact, we found reputable sources listing out the largest protests, and then organized the chart from largest to smallest. Consider these three questions when visualizing all of your data, and your design decisions will be far easier to make.
To succeed in design and marketing today, one must know how to interpret and properly visualize data. This course, developed and led by Killer Infographics CEO, Amy Balliett, walks you through the ins and outs of creating accurate and compelling data visualizations. Amy focuses on best practices, not tools, although she does provide an overview of Illustrator graphing features. Using these tips, you'll learn how to stand out from the crowd and create charts and graphs that combine precision with visual appeal.
- What charts and graphs work best for different types of data
- Putting data into visual and textual context to ensure it is accurate
- Visualizing data that doesn't lend itself to imagery
- Adding visual appeal without sacrificing accuracy
- Using the Adobe Illustrator graphing tools
- Avoiding common data viz mistakes