Data visualisations, or “infographics”. It’s difficult to move without another one being pushed in front of you. It makes you wonder whatever did we do before them. Are they just style over substance? Or a long-overdue opportunity for designers to give our wonderful (in our eyes) charts some more meaning to less data-literate folk?
We have to remember that not everyone ‘gets’ charts. Or tables. Or even percentages. We do, because that’s our business. But a large part of our audience may not. So it’s vital that we communicate our findings in an accessible, graspable and stimulating way.
When done well, they’re wonderful:
- http://simpliflying.com/wp-content/uploads/LoyaltyInfographic.jpg (note it has a zoom control)
- one for the ladies (although my other half tells me that it’s not totally correct) http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/feb/14/highstreet-clothes-size-chart
When done badly, they’re meaningless (no names mentioned)
The 3 key themes to me it seems are:
1. Clarity – still important to put titles on the axes for example
2. Variety – mix of charts, big wacky fonts, sometimes in CAPITALS, interspersed with pictures, and text, often in columns and boxes.
uh??!!! To avoid this, simply keep it 100% clear, unambiguous, precisely labelled, and with appealing commentary for your audience.
3. Interactivity – finally if you can make it interactive, then do. People love clicking on stuff, and cutting the data any which way. Suddenly you can make your data fun, and the business will start to take notice.
We can give you a hand with this, of course, so if you want an interactive online dashboard, all nicely labelled, and with lots of nice fonts, and oh-so-clear commentary – get in touch