Data visualisation or story telling is the visual representation of information and data using different graphical elements. These elements can be anything from charts, graphs and maps to many different images. The key to a successful piece of data visualisation is creating an accessible way to see and understand trends and patterns in data.It’s another form of visual art that grabs our interest and keeps our eyes on the message. When we see a chart, we quickly see trends and outliers. If we can see something, we internalise it quickly. It’s storytelling with a purpose. If you’ve ever stared at a massive spreadsheet of data and couldn’t see a trend, you know how much more effective graphical visualisation can be.
Why would you need data visualisation?
We live in an inherently visual world, where images speak ten times louder than words. Demonstrating your business vision and aspirations in terms of sustainability is vital whether it’s to an internal or an external audience. But, sometimes that message and clarity can get lost in a series of complex data sets and initiatives. Data visualisations pull out the stories from within the information and create a clear a digestible path of understanding for the audience.
Communicating your message to your stakeholders should be core part of your sustainability strategy and will drive impactful behaviour change ultimately making your project a success! By collecting the right data, writing compelling text and presenting it in an efficient and visually pleasing way, it will catch your audiences’ eye which then sparks interest and gets everybody engaged.
Having the ability to share your data across digital platforms in a digestible and creative way will bring new levels of connectivity and visibility to your supply chains and employees. For your current customers as well as new customers, data may have a bad name for being boring and not particularly interesting but when “visualised” you can attract those who would almost certainly not read it when presented in a flat spreadsheet!
Who is data visualisation for?
We feel data visualisation can benefit everyone. Effective data visualisation can be seen as a necessary step in successful data analysis. Without it, insights and trends, as well as key messages, can be lost or misunderstood. But it is also often thought that data visualisation is only useful for communicating significant insights and scientific trends, but they can also be used as an education and discovery tool. Whether you’re working with complex spreadsheets full of supplier data and want to share key findings within a report or perhaps you are trying to understand your customer’s appetite for sustainability through a survey – all this information can be transformed into something digestible and creative for your particular audience to understand.
How can it be used?
Data is a hugely powerful tool. Well, designed data visualisations can enhance and support your data to tell a story. Machine learning and AI is paving the way, making it easier to conduct analysis, which can then serve as helpful visualisations to present a specific story. Data visualisation is not only important for data scientists and data analysts, it is necessary to understand data visualisation in any career. Whether you work in finance, marketing, tech, design, or anything else, you need to communicate complex data in a visual way. Depending on the audience and the story you are looking to tell, nothing will support your argument or message more than cold, hard numbers. Data is one of the most powerful tools for communication. But numbers alone won’t necessarily make the desired impact if your audience doesn’t understand them. That’s why data visualisation is key and should be incorporated into your sustainability strategy at the outset.