Often, we give presentations to make information more accessible and more memorable. Sure, anyone could read a report or document; but having the same information delivered by a person and supporting visuals really helps audiences absorb and retain the messaging. Data visualisation and infographics bridge the gap between information and design.
Take the numbness out of numbers
In the minds of people and computers – data is clutter. We amass countless amounts of it daily, Facebook steals and sells it without our consent, and entire enterprises and programs are dedicated to making sense (and profits) of it. As a result of its vast applications and complexity, conveying the meaning and significance of data to people can be challenging.
Data visualisation transforms facts and figures into something easily digested and pleasant to the eyes. There’s no reason you can’t be informative and engaging – it’s about crafting the right narrative and visual rendering that takes the dullness out of data.
By giving a graphical representation of data through elements such as charts, maps, and graphs, information thus becomes more accessible, making it easier to understand trends, patterns, and outliers. The ability to comprehend mass amounts of data easily is becoming more important in this era of Big Data, machine learning, and automation.
While computers are taking a great deal of the hard work out of data analysis, industries still need ways of using data to demonstrate important business information – particularly in presentations to decision makers and investors.
In data visualisation, there are numerous diagram types used to convey information. The first type are flow diagrams which can be linear, closed loops, merge/divide, or parallel but not intersecting.
The next type is joining diagrams of either interlocking or overlapping shapes. After this are segment diagrams, which are generally named after pastries, such as donut and pie charts. Network diagrams are divided into ring (of connecting exterior shapes) and hub-and-spoke. The final type is stack diagrams (either vertical or horizontal).
Information as imagery
Infographics are one of the most accessible forms of data visualisation as they simplify and arrange data into an easily digested format that often highlights an overarching narrative. Infographics mean going from a data set to a visually striking (sometimes interactive) interpretation of data that makes the information easier to understand.
They’re simple to create in PowerPoint and there’s a wide of variety of infographic types to demonstrate different data sets:
Informational infographics are generally more text heavy, enhanced by the use of icons, shapes, colours and other visual elements to emphasise the words.
Timeline infographics depict a series of events or actions in chronological order. For example, a product’s development, historical trends, or a concept’s evolution over time. They use icons, images, and graphic elements to convey meaning. Timeline format can be vertical, horizontal, or winding. Vertical and winding are easier to read; while horizontal is better for posters, presentations, and environments without space constraints.
Charts infographics have a chart as the centrepiece of its data visualisation. Colours, shapes, and icons are used for emphasis and/or explanation. These are best for basic comparisons, such as populations of various cities.
Pie-Chart infographics’ focus object is a pie chart. This means they’re especially useful in showing the different components’ values of a complete item.
How-To infographics are used to show step-by-step procedures. They’re similar to timelines since each step is generally a logical consequence of the previous step.
Process infographics are similar to ‘how-to’ except they depict decision-making processes. They’re also referred to as decision trees or flow charts.
Comparison infographics highlights similarities and differences between two or more items, ideas, locations, events, actions, or individuals. By creating contrast, comparison infographics help identify pros and cons of one item in the context of an alternative.
Numerical infographics place emphasis on numbers (duh!?). Since numerical information is usually harder to digest, these infographics are useful for highlighting and interpreting raw data.
Resume infographics make a resume more visually appealing and help an applicant distinguish themselves from the pack. They depict work experience, qualifications, and other credentials in a shorter and more visual format compared to standard (text-heavy) resumes.