Join Bill Shander for an in-depth discussion in this video Use story even when you don't, part of Data Visualization: Storytelling.
- [Voiceover] I've made this point in my other courses so, I won't belabor it here, but, I do think it's worth repeating. Even when you create a simple annotated chart or a PowerPoint slide or a one-panel infographic, you may not be in full-on storytelling mode, but, you should always still think about the story's structure when designing and creating that content. Think about it this way: Humans are wired for story and have certain expectations about what stories look like and how they're structured. In its most basic form, every story needs a beginning, middle, and end. We learn this in elementary school.
And maybe a story has some more nuance things like the challenge the protagonist faces and the climax that everything builds up to. My argument is that even if you're creating something very simple like this infographic, if you look carefully, you can parse out that basic story structure very easily. For instance, let's say that this yellow highlight is the conclusion of the story, the end, right? And the headline is the beginning of the story. The body copy maybe is the middle and the callout text, let's say is the climax. Keep in mind that the reader of your graphic might read the conclusion first, that yellow part. In fact, if you make it yellow, right, you're really drawing the eye to it, they'll almost certainly read it first, and that's okay.
But, I can guarantee you that if they find it interesting, they might then read the headline or the callout copy. They're looking for the context for that conclusion. And if they are still interested, they might even read the body copy, imagine that. The point is that your audience certainly might read the infographic backwards, but, they will consume the different parts of the story, and in their heads, they'll reassemble it subconsciously using that story structure that they expect. It doesn't matter really which piece is which; the yellow piece could be the climax or the conclusion, the headline might be the conclusion or the climax for the beginning.
The point is to have all the components there to allow your audience to read it in linear story mode or to reconstruct it after the fact in their heads. Either way, it's how people expect information to be presented, so, I say give the people what they want. And by the way, headlines, callouts, highlighted areas are great opportunities to introduce that key ingredient, anxiety. I'm not advocating the creation of Linkbait for hyperbolic headlines just to be salacious or falsely dry virality, I just mean create headlines that capture your story and include the key components of story.
But, always do it honestly, sincerely, and purposefully.
Join data visualization expert Bill Shander as he guides you through the process of turning "facts and figures" into "story" to engage and fulfill our human expectation for information. This course is intended for anyone who works with data and has to communicate it to others, whether a researcher, a data analyst, a consultant, a marketer, or a journalist. Bill shows you how to think about, and craft, stories from data by examining many compelling stories in detail.
- Creating a narrative structure for data
- Applying narrative to data
- Identifying what you want to say with the data
- Analyzing what your data is saying
- Determining what your audience needs to hear
- Leveraging tables, charts, and visuals
- Ensuring your narrative provides context and direction