Best Practices in Data Visualization - Ridgeant

Top 9 Data Visualization Practices for Insightful Vision

Best Practices in Data Visualization - Ridgeant

“Data visualization is the language of decision making. Good charts effectively convey information. Great charts enable, inform, and improve decision making.” — Dante Vitagliano

As the horizons of technology widen, so does the spread and depth of data. Data is being leveraged more as the number of electronic devices are increasing far and wide. Too many numbers are tough for anyone to perceive or utilize for effective business decisions. There comes in Data Visualization – data representation through visually appealing charts, graphs, plots, animations.

Data Visualization is an important ingredient in most domains today as it converts complicated numbers to easily readable and understandable content through its graphical representation. It empowers business users in taking the correct decision, carve out newer patterns and trends and thereby, enhance business results.

The tough part is how to make data visualization interesting and fruitful? For any designer who is developing visualizations, it is important to understand that the graphics must be self-explanatory and must be able to reveal hidden information from the hordes of business data.

Designers must think of questions like who the audience is, what are their questions, what are the probable replies and what are the possible outcomes of the proposed visualizations. As you start getting answers to these questions, there are certain best practices, tips and guidelines that can help bigtime.

This article delves deeper into the nuances of data visualization that can be of great assistance. Before that, let us quickly go through the basics of the same.

What is Data Visualization? An Overview

Data and information visualization is the practice of designing and creating easy-to-communicate and easy-to-understand graphic or visual representations of a large amount of complex quantitative and qualitative data and information with the help of static, dynamic or interactive visual items. – Wikipedia

Data visualization is a modern-day approach to communicate quantitative data in a visually appealing manner. It could be through different mediums like graphs, charts, maps, plots, animations. It has been a supporting medium to various segments like business intelligence, journalism, medical fraternity, enterprise businesses etc.

Visualizing data through such artifacts helps in offering a detailed insight with precision and ease. It makes the entire information chunk more interesting, exploratory, and grasping. One can easily find hidden trends and patterns to perceive complicated information in a better manner.

It is vital for graphic designers to go by industry wise best practices and prepare visualizations that are perfectly carved, visually appealing, and convenient to interpret. Data visualizations services are expected to precisely represent the data and its associated trends. End users must be able to judge what further actions should be taken after seeing the visualization.

9 Data Visualization Best Practices to Follow

  • Understand Target Audience and Reasons of Data Visualization

It is important to perceive your users and their expectations, requirements prior to going in for data visualization. Visualizing elements could differ based on the role that users play in the organization. Be it top management, sales executives, marketing executives, finance teams – they all have their own needs that could differ from each other.

Also, put efforts in understanding the core reason behind why organizations are going in for data visualization. The encouragement that could be reasons for data visualization could be spontaneous, planning or based on top management decision support. Going into details of this will lead to better and clear precision.

  • Select the Most Effective Visualization

Data visualization comes in different forms and faces. It is important that you understand which type of visualization suits your requirements the best. One size does not fit all and hence scrutinizing the different types like bar charts, line charts, histograms, scatter plots, bubble charts, pie charts, tree maps etc. helps bigtime.

Whatever selection you make – in terms of a single solution or multiple, it should be able to tell your story in the most convincing way and should be able to answer all your questions at a single glance. It should also drill down deeper to the needed level, to obtain the necessary business information, at the right time and right place.        

  • Keep it Simple & Smart

It is human tendency – as we see multiple opportunities to showcase data, in terms of colours, formats, fonts, designs etc., we tend to make best use of everything possible under the sun. Our objective should be to give the visualization a simple and easily understandable format and not a jazzy, cluttered one.

Keeping it simple is the toughest part. It needs a complete control over your decisions to make best use of the elements in such a way that it strikes a proper balance between understanding, convenience, costs, visual engagement, performance, drill down facilities etc.

  • Design a Varied and Attractive Layout

There are many alternatives that are available when it comes to representing data through visualization charts. Even the data comes in different varieties, different formats. It is vital to understand and finalize the right kind of visualization chart for the right kind of data. That will help the end user in easily grasping information.

Having the dashboard filled with appropriate layouts, colour patterns, designs can make it easy for the users to understand what the data is trying to convey. This assists business stakeholders in conveying information to clients also, in an attractive and visually appealing manner.

  • Keep Enhancing and Nurturing Layouts

As a baseline, you may create a fixed set of visualization practices. As you go along, many things change. Data, processes, user needs, newer insights – there could be variations that go along. We must be sure of incorporating these changes in the data visualization charts and graphs, so that at any point, our visual appeal looks modern and updated.

With modernized pace of technology, there could be newer ways and means by which data can be visualized. We must adhere to those changes and bring out innovative layouts and formats that can appeal to the business stakeholders. We must consider the domain within which these visuals are getting created, that also does make a difference.

  • Select Data Points with Accuracy

Data that comes as an input in any data visualization is represented as data points. There could be multiple data points in any visualization representation. Not all can be considered. The decision as to which ones to take, for a better representation is vital for better understanding.

The selected data points must be capable to conveying the overall story that is needed to be conveyed. It must adhere to all security and regulatory requirements of the project. Even its sanctity, authenticity and security must be checked and properly ensured beforehand so that the visual representation is perfect as it goes before the client.

  • Make Visualizations That are Accessible and Inclusive

The main target audience, as you prepare the data visualization, must be continuously kept in mind. They are the ones who are going to use it and leverage it for further business usage. Keep your visualization easily accessible for them, so that they don’t need to depend on anyone else, while accessing the charts or graphs.

One more factor that must be kept in mind is the all-inclusive nature of visualization effects. Since it manages chunks of data, it must be designed in such a way that it includes all necessary information, parameters, elements that are needed to fulfil the basic objectives of the data visualization.

  • Offer a Personalized User Experience

Data visualizations could be created with utmost design capabilities but if they don’t meet user requirements and offer them a personalized experience, they don’t serve the purpose. It is vital that the data visualization layouts offer what the users are looking for, in terms of accessibility of data, colours, patterns, statistics, visual elements.

Effective communication of data that is displayed in the charts and graphs must happen with the end users. There must be a proper alignment of business objectives, user expectations and thorough understanding of what the data is conveying across layers. Once these elements are mapped, the basic purpose of the entire visualization activity is served.

  • Create an Interactive Visualization

What users look for is not mere static visualization, it must be interactive. Users must be able to interact with different elements and drill down further to further levels. This can open the data layouts with detailing and thereby, offer a complete snapshot of the desired functionalities.

Modern-day elements and features like tooltips, filters, drills etc. must be leveraged more to make it interactive, interesting, and more fruitful. These elements serve as an integral part of the data showcase that users are seeing, making it more interesting and purposeful. After all, making the users happy is what we aim for!

An Interesting Read: Top 10 Popular BI Tools for Insightful Data Analytics and Visualization

Till Later

The central idea behind a good data visualization is to draw focus towards data, not towards the design. Following the above-mentioned best practices can assist in getting the best of data visualization effects and stay ahead of the rest.

There are many data visualization tools that are available. Choosing the ideal one is important for your organization since what may suit yours, may not suit others and vice versa.

As an integral part of our data analytics offerings, we create well-crafted data visualizations that empower businesses to come up with hidden trends and patterns, draw conclusions, monitor performance, and track KPIs.

Whether it’s predictive modeling, machine learning, or advanced data visualization, we offer customized solutions to catalyse your data-driven journey. We select the most advanced technology stack that suits your requirements. We leverage next-gen data platforms, sophisticated technologies, and intelligent BI tools to transform raw data into actionable insights.

At Ridgeant, we construct innovative data success stories. As your reliable data partner, we empower global businesses to take on opportunities and drive impactful change. Contact us in case you are looking for any kind of data analytics or data visualization services.


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