Guest Column | July 4, 2022

4 Steps For Impactful Data Visualizations That Can Increase Engagement, Show Meaningful Correlations, And Produce Actionable Insights

By Casey McGuigan, Infragistics

Four 4

The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, according to research by 3M Corporation. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Visualizations play a key role in any business strategy because they are an effective way of creating an immersive experience when telling a story with impact, especially with supporting data. Data visualizations bring data storytelling to life - making data easy to digest, understand and gain insights from.

Data is crucial - to businesses, to professionals striving to make the right decisions, and to companies that want a clear picture of the facts. Moreover, the best and easiest way to engage a reader with digital content is through data visualizations which make information easily digestible. Data visualizations can do more for optimizing your overall content than other methods.

Today, more and more businesses are choosing to add images of dashboards, charts, and tables of data to raise engagement with their content. Let's dig a little deeper into how visualizations can help engage the reader.

Data visualizations turn raw data into comprehensible charts, dashboards, maps, and other visuals to make gathering insights faster. With visualizations, data is communicated to allow any audience to interpret and use the data to make decisions. What data visualization does is show all needed information in a glance, allowing for a quick understanding and connection with the content.

Once you have access to data, you can collect it and use it in many ways. But how do you use it for storytelling? The answer is easy - with data visualization you can bring all the information together and show patterns in one glance.

The importance of data visualization is obvious - it's not only a tool, but a kind of magic for readers who don't usually interact with data and may find it difficult to comprehend. With it, data is shown in a form that is easily accessible and understandable, allowing the reader to quickly make decisions and conclusions.

Here are three of the reasons people react better to data visualizations online.

Data Is Not Abstract Anymore

With data visualizations, people don't need to have special training to understand data. Visualizations make it simple to process and use information represented this way.

You Can See All Connections Between Things

Data visualization is a way to see correlations that would otherwise remain hidden. It’s a great technique for supporting marketing because it shows readers important connections in processes, marketing results, overall business trends, etc.

Data Is Available To Eliminate Mistakes

With data visualizations, the right decisions are more obvious than ever. There is no misinterpretation, helping everyone understand what factors should be considered for a truly data-driven decision.

The Benefits Of Data Visualization

For business people, analysts, marketing professionals, and data geeks, data is crucial to determine where to put effort and how to proceed with future steps. And there is no better way for producing actionable insights than data visualization.

Data visualizations get people to think and drive them to pay attention to important details, stimulating new ideas and spotting opportunities that would otherwise be missed in a simple accumulated data report. They also provide up-to-date information on everything one might need - without the time-consuming task of comparing various documents. A detailed report can be made easy to read with data visualization and it brings the message across faster. 

Data visualizations present information, usually related to many boring numbers and results, in an engaging way that compels people to pay attention. With data visualizations, businesses can see meaningful correlations between what they are doing and the results they are getting. The same goes for marketers looking to dig deeper into patterns to gain new perspectives or knowledge. In addition, data visualization accurately uncovers customer behavior, business insights, results from campaigns, project performance, etc., leaving no stone unturned. This allows organizations to stay on top of new opportunities and avoid mistakes.

We all know images help with engagement (humans are VERY visual creatures), but data visualizations can be even more engaging. Due to the mix and balance between visual stimuli and text, they give more context and pull the readers into a digital environment even further.

Here are four steps for using data visualizations to increase engagement in your content:

  1. Choose The Right Format

Make your data visualizations compelling by choosing the right format. You have a lot of options, like pie charts, infographics, dashboards, bar charts, column charts, and many more. So first, consider your storytelling and then choose the visual that would be the best to accompany it. For example, a heat map would not be appropriate to use for comparing sales reports but would be a great way to display geographical data.

  1. Color Smartly

Since colors can influence readers, your choice of colors is also very important. It's good to get acquainted with color theory for design and make sure you don't use too few or too many colors at once. 

  1. Label Clearly

Readability is largely impacted by labels and hierarchy in data visualization, so make sure they are intuitive and clear, without cluttering the visualization. Make everything understandable at one glance.

  1. Research Before Publishing

Be honest with your data and do your research based on authentic sources. Strive to use validated data, selecting the data points that will show the reader the content piece in its best light.

Tools For Achieving Engaging Data Visualizations

With the right data visualization storytelling tools, you can connect to all the data reports you have in different systems and build a visual that brings more engagement and overall popularization of your website. Today’s data visualization software is fast and efficient, allowing you to quickly present vast amounts of data in one beautiful and shareable visual. Good data visualization tools also can connect to multiple data sources, access real-time information, and display it immediately.

The most effective tools provide the option of choosing different types of data visualizations and allow you to determine what works best for your content. When determining which tool to use, choose one that is easy to use even in the most complicated environments. A good visualization tool creates simple and beautiful dashboards and produces interactive graphs that bring your story to life.

About The Author

Casey McGuigan holds a BA in mathematics and an MBA, bringing a data analytics and business perspective to Infragistics. Casey is the product owner for Slingshot, a digital workplace platform, and Reveal an embedded analytics solution. She was instrumental in product development, market analysis, and the product's go-to-market strategy.