Best practices on data visualization: creating an efficient workspace for everyone

Data is produced at extraordinary speed, whereas analysing and reporting must work at the same pace to generate meaningful results. Good practices in data visualization allow greater comprehension of information, fundamental to guarantee a quick reaction and gather results in record time.

Visual analysis help data scientists and other untechnical professionals to understand patterns, draw correlations and put together relevant stories. All this while the organization is generating more data to be analysed. To accelerate this comprehension work, graphic and interactive panels are created and optimised to gather only relevant data for a specific business unit.

Here are some good practices in data visualization that will guarantee efficiency for your audience.

Best Practice in Data Visualization #1: Who is your audience

An effective informative panel allow people to easily obtain the answer they are looking for. Beautiful colourful panels will do nothing unless users are quickly able to obtain the information needed.

For that, it is mandatory to understand what you are trying to say and to whom it will be said. Is your audience technical? If not, what can you do to help them comprehend what is being transmitted? These questions must be part of the repertory when defining a good data visualization strategy.

Best Practice in Data Visualization #2: Data with context

To be effective, visualization needs titles, subtitles, highlights, and comments that will help users understand what is being presented. It is also important to use data to put together a relevant story, also known as storytelling. Here are additional practices to keep in mind:

  • Effective is almost always affective. A good presentation generates emotional responses and genuine interaction with users.
  • Exhibitions must be coherent and visually pleasant. The exhibition and communication style are very important, not only to make it look nice, but to highlight priorities and hierarchy of information.
  • Panels must be attractive for user interaction. Using interactive elements allow the user to work with information, raise questions and draw conclusions independently. This increases the credibility of data.

Best Practice in Data Visualization #3: Choose the right graphic for each exhibition

Graphics style will depend on what you are trying to answer to the public, or what is the type of information to be communicated. Before inserting a graphic on presentation, it is important to question whether it is the best way to broadcast the massage desired. Plus, if this is the best way to be understood by the public. These are the most common types of graphics and when they are primarily used:

  • Line: exhibit a tendency through a period of time;
  • Bar: used in comparison of data among different categories;
  • Variation map: show the correlation between 2 factors;
  • Highlight table: details the information contained in variation maps;
  • Tree map: used to dispose data hierarchically in the proportion of a whole;
  • Marker: highlights the performance of a matric in comparison to a goal.

Best Practice in Data Visualization #4: Using interactive visualization panels

A good panel needs interactivity so the public can click and experiment, earning knowledge and trust to explore whatever they want. It is also important that interactivity options are well disposed, clear and with instructive subtitles that can be accessed with the scroll of the mouse to obtain more information.

Interactivity may be added to the panel with highlights, including filters, parameters, sets and action sets. In addition, it is always nice to create tips on tools and fluid navigation, that guides users through the workspace and directs them to additional content.

Best Practice in Data Visualization #5: Accessibility

It is important to consider panel accessibility, meaning it must be accessible to every user, streamlining and facilitating reading. This accessibility includes users that rely on screen readers, keyboard navigation, braille keyboard; using colour adapted to colour blinds and whatever it takes to ensure access to everyone.

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