Crafting Effective Data Visualizations

October 2, 2015

In my former blog I talked about how visual content is easier to digest and understand than text alone, having a greater impact on audiences. Even though building data visualizations is not a simple 1-2-3 step, here are four fundamentals that are considered, by many professionals, the basis for building effective ones:

1. Find a Topic

Find a TopicChoose a topic that’s interesting to you and do background research to help you develop it. Have you considered the scope of your topic? If too broad, it might be difficult finding data that’s focused. If too narrow, you might have a hard time finding data at all. Another helpful tip is to do a search on Google. If there are too many infographics about the same topic, you might need to change course. Do you want to be unique, or another one of the bunch?

2. Do your Research

Do your ResearchData is the foundation of the content piece. Always start with data, and not with design. Gather quality data from reliable sources and stay away from user-generated content websites. Analyze it to determine if it has storytelling potential, and reference your sources properly in the final piece.

3. Tailor an Engaging Narrative

Tailor an Engaging NarrativeStorytelling is a core human experience, and as such, it’s a powerful method of conveying information. As with a written story, an infographic should have a beginning, middle, and end. The narrative will guide the viewer through the story in a compelling way.

Other things to consider: • Who is your target audience? • What points do you want to make? • Limit the word count and let the data tell the story. It’s about presenting information visually.

4. Infographic Creation

Infographic CreationHiring an information designer will be your best bet. The difference between a graphic designer and an information designer lies in the additional skill set of the latter, making him or her capable of analyzing and presenting data accurately. Sure, data should look beautiful and readable, but this shouldn’t be the main concern. The primary objective for creating data visualizations should be making the complex understandable, while letting the visuals bring the story to life.