It’s a mess when you are in a middle of a crucial discussion and everyone’s shouting at the top of their lungs and you are the one to take MoM (minutes of meeting.) You are screwed as not only you have to hear each and every word, but also understand every bit of it. A poorly designed interface with a hell lot of data leaves your audience in a similar situation.
Companies have data informing them what their customers are up to, how their products and services are performing, their employees productivity, and much more. But unfortunately, companies with a lot of big data have very poor cluttered UI interfaces, with almost no data visibility. Data visualization can bring harmony to the chaos created due to a large amount of data, making it easier for users to quickly read and interpret different attributes of the data.
Data + Poor Design = Chaos, Chaos, and only Chaos
Poor data visualization is to blame for making the interface complex. Website and portals with huge data, generally opt for tables to display data. However, tables are very poorly designed, automated to fetch the existing data from the database, but the format makes it look like a jumble of data instead of organized information and the visual styling is really poor.
The worst part is that the people use the highly outdated CMS templates, so they end up only decorating the template instead of doing the actual design. Designers just use high contrast, heavily saturated colors and similar font sizes, styles and weights to highlight the rules. This makes the interface more confusing and difficult for users to make sense of what values matter.
Human brain prefers visual information and if you can mirror simple human behavior in your design, it will do wonders to data visualization. Here are our five rules of creating a successful data visualization design:
Know your data
Data is complicated, numbers, numbers, and more numbers, but nothing will make sense to your user, if you only don’t understand the data. Sketching your idea is the quickest and easiest way to evaluate it in a meaningful way. You need to create a journey map on how to present data in a way that your audience finds it relevant at various touchpoints. It will help you in delivering a single strong message through your dashboard. Multiple messages often leave your audience confused.
Am I on track? Understanding the context
Once you know your data, it’s time to match the present metrics against goals, to help your audience better judge the numbers. In today’s time, people might want to check the metrics from their smartphone and therefore it’s better to think small and design for mobiles first.
Tell your story
Good data visualization involves organizing and presenting your content in the form of a narrative that’s understandable by everyone. The story should be weaved in a way that the audience finds every metric and visualization relevant. Actually, the graphics should intuitively guide through the dashboard message so that audience can draw a conclusion through data.
Defining the user experience
You can turn your stories into reality through visuals, but you need to organize them in a way that your data visualization follows the natural eye movement of your audience. Your visualization should follow a logical sequence of layered data, starting with high-level information and then allow users to explore more. User experience is more than just presenting information, it’s communicating with your audience through visual cues, inspiring them to ask questions, encourage dialogue and find solutions through the data.
Make data simple and easy to digest
Data will have the maximum impact if it’s presented in a simple and digestible format, you can use white space, colors and data hierarchy to convey your stories. Images, videos, graphics, charts all work well for easy data visualization, so you need to choose the right visual matching your purpose. You can also make use of different data visualization tools based on CSS/HTML that can be customized to creatively display data values.
- Bar Charts are used to compare quantities of different categories.
- Line graphs to establish the relationship between two or more variables.
- Pie Charts are used to compare parts of a whole.
- Bubble Chart to show a joint variation of three data items.
- Dropdown lists to organize data and timelines.
- Progress bars to show the data progress.
Data visualization Design is the answer to all your important business questions
Good data visualization helps your audience to scan, draw conclusions and act on data. When you had to put too much effort in understanding the data, it is bound to cause errors, which may cost you time, money and customers. A data-intensive design will be much more alive and useful, if you visualize your data correctly.
The modern data visualization design can present data in an interactive and easy to understand format, helping decision makers to analyze data quickly, test their decisions and predict outcomes. With better data visualization, you will be able to clear doubts and uncertainties in a better way. Right data visualization can bring clarity to your user’s decision and more credibility to your product.