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The Best Ways To Show Data Through Design Visualisation

The Best Ways To Show Data Through Design Visualisation

Data is important. Let me repeat: Data is important. But do you know what’s arguably even more important? How you present that data. Anyone working in marketing or design knows it can be challenging to create a compelling narrative out of a large data set. If you’re having trouble with data visualisation, read on to learn the best ways to communicate your data-heavy campaigns through design visualization with examples from our own campaigns!

Don’t show everything

When working with a large data set, showing everything can be overwhelming and difficult to digest. Instead, focus on the most important key points first. By highlighting the key takeaways, you can help your audience understand the story that your data is telling. Mobile users are inclined to scroll after 10-14 seconds, so it’s essential to get your message across quickly and effectively.

Focus on main the point 

To create an interesting story out of your data, you need to identify the main idea you want to communicate. What are the trends? What are the smallest and highest numbers? Why are they like that – were they like that five years back? Spend some time and give it some thought, and question why you’re highlighting this data to begin with. By doing so, you’ll make your points and story stronger.

Example: For a recent Lovehoney campaign, our design team elected to use a simple and on-brand illustration to highlight a key stat of a survey.

Keep it simple

People are naturally impatient, so if they take longer than 10-20 seconds trying to understand your data visualization, you may need to simplify it. Try to avoid adding too much copy, as good data visualization can be explained in a few sentences or less. Also, keep the design simple and clear to the point. 

Example: In this campaign for Marketzoo we designed the data in a simple table format to communicate the message of the data and establish the hierarchical structure. 

Simplify numbers

Numbers can be overwhelming, especially if you’re dealing with large data sets. When presenting numbers, simplify them to make them easier to understand. For example, if you have a graph showcasing 20 countries with their population, you might want to divide the number by millions or billions. Also, round decimal places to 1 or 2 decimal places, unless it’s required.

Example: Instead of showing a large number like 23,704,393, simplify it to 23.7M and mention in the key or caveat the M being millions.

Keep scale comparisons realistic

When comparing data, it’s essential to keep the scale realistic. Avoid using graphs that have too big of a gap to compare. Instead, ensure that what you’re comparing is within a similar range, so you can see the trends of how things have developed over time or see the differences by value.

Example: If you’re comparing the sales of different products, make sure that the scale is similar so that you can see the differences in sales.

Put it in order where the items make sense  

The order in which you present your data is crucial. You can order the data alphabetically, in a sequence, or by the lowest/highest value. The data should be read similarly to a book, where it has an intro, middle, and conclusion. Therefore, the order of hierarchy matters as well.

Example: If you’re presenting a timeline of events, make sure that the events are presented in chronological order.

Bold and highlight to create impact

Use simple typography techniques tactfully to enhance the way you emphasise certain areas in the data. Ideally, the things that are highlighted is the story the image is trying to tell and grabs the attention of the reader.

Example: If ‘The Amazon rainforest loses 3.5 – 7 billion trees each year due to deforestation.’, this can be reformatted as: ‘ The Amazon rainforest loses 3.5 – 7 billion trees each year due to deforestation.Or alternatively, the stat can just be bolded if you want to focus on the metric alone.‘ The Amazon rainforest loses 3.5 – 7 billion trees each year due to deforestation.

Check the readability and contrast 

Make sure the font can be read on both desktop and mobile devices. Coolors is a great online tool if you want to double-check whether your colour combinations work with each other. If you have a label text on top of a busy background, consider giving your text more contrast with a box overlay, placing the text elsewhere where the font is more readable, or resizing the font.

Example: In this interactive we created for Aqua we highlighted key colours in the brand’s colour palette and used them in a readability-friendly way by keeping contrast at the core of the design.

Do you want to bring your brand’s online exposure to the next level with beautifully designed, data-driven campaigns? Reach out to our team of experts today. 

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Marianne Spencer

Marianne Spencer joined the Kaizen Academy in 2022 and enjoyed working across our SEO, Digital PR and B2B Marketing departments

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