Have you heard of data visualization? Even if you don't know the term, you've probably seen some examples.
Data visualization refers to graphical images that represent and explain data trends or other numerical information, e.g. B. Charts, Maps, Scatter Plots or Charts.
You can use data visualization in articles or on web pages to make numbers and dates easy to digest for the reader. Especially when you're trying to break down complex topics to convert more readers, data can add value and help you defend your case.
The benefits of data visualization
Visuals are a powerful addition to your articles and presentations.
According to an MIT study, our brain processes images at a rapid pace. Including graphics in your article not only breaks up the text and gives your reader something different to look at, but it can also help them process the information faster.
Think about it: we've communicated visually since the days of cave painting. Data visualization takes image communication to the next level, integrating statistics and data into compelling graphs that your brain can absorb faster than just scanning numbers.
Plus, it's more than just laying out the numbers. Data visualization is about presenting data in a very specific way in order to secure your claims or to illustrate your point of view. It is more than just a table of statistics that the reader must work through to find out for themselves.
Numbers can often be the "evidence" you need to convince your reader to take the next step or make a purchase, but many people don't want to take the time to read through all of the data.
According to the Nielsen Norman Group, people don't read literally online, but rather go back to the earliest days on the internet. Instead, they scan and look for standout headlines and images that capture them. The data visualization gives you the opportunity to capture your interest and to have important statistics in front of you.
Examples of data visualization
Are you inspired to create data visualization images for your content or do you need some more samples? Here are some ideas to get you thinking.
1. USA Today Housing Bubble Graphic
USA Today created this graph using an interactive map to help readers understand the data behind current trends in home sales. The simple color palette makes it visually appealing, and the ability to scroll through each status to learn more means readers may spend more time on the page and interacting with the data.
2. CNBC Job Change Graph
This image from CNBC is an example of the visually pleasing use of a bar graph. At a glance, you can see what is growing and decreasing. If you take a closer look, you can find out more about the numbers and details.
3. NY Times Nutrition Scatter Plot
Scatterplots can get complex, so this NY Times chart uses images to help make the point clear. It also explains the XY axes so readers can understand what they are seeing.
Types of data visualization
When it comes to creating unique images, the only limit is your imagination. However, here are a few common types that you can get started with.
Bar charts are an easy option. Think back to your school days and your scientific projects. Bar graphs can be vertical or horizontal, with each bar representing the values of each category.
Bar charts can show all the numbers you need to compare side by side, and you can use colors to represent different categories. For example, you can compare salaries for different jobs, prices for different products, or populations of different groups.
Pie charts are made up of circles that represent 100% of something and are divided into "slices" of ratios or percentages.
They are a great way to illustrate how different categories are compared with their larger context. For example, you can show how many people in a particular group have different behaviors, habits, or preferences.
While tables aren't always the most visually compelling, they can be used to provide multiple data points or categories to help people understand the relationships between items.
In a table, you can organize the main categories you are comparing into rows. You can put as many different topics as you need in each column.
Tables are simple and useful, but they can easily become overloaded. Make sure to highlight the areas that need your attention and use colors to make things stand out. Keep everything lined up and clear so that it can be easily scanned for your readers.
A power horse of online images, infographics can mean almost anything. However, an infographic usually functions as a curated collection of charts, graphs, symbols, and short text to share general information on a topic or to tell a narrative.
They are usually designed vertically, with strong headings and numbers. Its power is to combine different elements to tell a story. Infographics are great for an overview, e.g. B. a short story behind a topic or a short lesson.
What's more visual than a GIF? As a quick video, you can use a GIF to show growth, motion, regression or progress. GIFs are often animated graphics or charts that show demographic data or changes over time.
If the information you're presenting is demographically or locally focused, maps can help tell that story visually. You can connect readers to information about specific areas or groups of people in these locations.
By color-coding different areas of your cards, your readers can quickly see which areas relate to which topics in your content. For example, you can shade areas red or blue depending on how that region voted on a particular topic or choice.
A heat map can show concentration or intensity ranges. You can use this for actual temperatures like climates or record temperatures in certain areas, or you can use it for proverbial heat that shows intensity or even popularity.
Sometimes, for example, heat maps illustrate population density or the behavior of users on a website; B. how often they interact with a certain area.
A scatter plot is a type of graph that shows the correlation, or relationship, between two subjects on a horizontal and vertical axis, with points scattered throughout to show examples of this relationship.
You can draw a line through the area where the points are concentrated to see trends. Your reader can see that the other factor reacts in some way when one factor changes, e.g. B. increased or heated.
Couple simple data visualization types
These are just a few of the simple elements that you can use to illustrate your data. The possibilities are almost innumerable. Almost any type of chart, graph, or map can be used.
However, some of the best data visualizations incorporate multiple types or couple more than one element. For example, you can use a series of pie charts to show how trends have changed over time.
Sometimes matching multiple elements can illustrate your point more fully, or allow you to better describe different points in your narrative. You can even use a chart on a chart or arrange it in an infographic style to tell a story.
Make data visualizations interactive
In order for your data visualization to work hard for you, consider interactive options.
With interactivity, readers can scroll or click across different parts of your diagram or graph to learn more about each section. Each bar on your chart or area on your map may contain more specific information for your viewers to read.
Not only does this provide more powerful data points for your image, it also enables a more relevant and customizable experience for more users.
Data visualization tools
You can create data visualization images for your content from scratch using design software or an online option like Canva. However, data visualization tools can give you a head start by making projects that really stand out.
These tools can take the guesswork out of you and focus on entering data and creating designs that reflect your brand and get your message across.
The great thing about these tools is that they are made for the casual creator. You don't have to be a developer or programmer to create great charts or graphs. Here are some of the plug and play options to get your idea off the ground.
Flourish provides an easy option to create and share data visualizations. You can upload spreadsheets directly to the platform or create your images from scratch. It has a number of animated or interactive templates that you can update with your branded graphics and elements.
Flourish offers a free option that allows you to explore and create the visualization of public data. If you want to interact with your team or create private projects, it has a few paid options.
Datawrapper promises to be easy to use without any programming experience being required. It offers several intuitive options with tools like a color-blind check that reminds you of color-blind colors.
With a variety of default settings in its templates, Datawrapper delivers the details of any data visualization that newbies may not have thought through.
This tool allows you to create charts and graphs that contain the animation and customization you need to excite your audience. You can also use Infogram's drag and drop functionality to drag the images and combine elements into a single, highly effective image.
Track the success of your data visualization elements
The time and effort it takes to create data visualizations and incorporate them into your content can pay off if they help guide people towards your goals, such as: However, you will only know if they are successful if you track the metrics.
Look at the bigger picture
Once you start incorporating data visualization into your content, the easiest way to track success is to see how good your content is. The most basic questions are: is the content with data visualization more popular? Are these pieces getting more readers and more shares?
Immerse yourself in the data
One way to get a little geeky with your data is to set up a heat map tool like Hotjar. This will give you more data on how people behave on your side, such as: B. how and where to scroll or click. This is especially useful for a landing page trying to convert people into sales.
Help them act
The only way to tell if your data visualization is actually converting is to give readers a chance to convert. Once they're confident about the data you're sharing, what should they do next? Make sure to keep CTAs near the data visualization clear. Clicks or email subscriptions can help you track the effectiveness of this image.
Data visualization can help you increase readership and more leads by engaging with them from the start. People will return to your online hub when they find quality content there. They are also more likely to share your content with others if they find it interesting and engaging.
With the help of data visualization, you can take up complex or dry concepts and make them more convincing. This will help you get your point across and increase sales.
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