By Mylena Vazquez
The data is in: good data visualization is key to good communication. Let’s be honest, data is not the most accessible thing to many people. It is delightful to some and dreadful to many others. But this isn’t data’s fault! It’s up to us as researchers to communicate our findings in a way that’s as interesting as our data. Here are two of the most important things to keep in mind when putting together your data presentation.
Keep your presentation short and simple. Your superiors don’t need to know about p-values and t-Tests and ANOVAs—they likely don’t even know what those mean! What they need to know is what, if anything, did you find out that they should know before making any major decisions. And instead of telling them percentages and values and counts, give them an insight. Tell them what that data point means, and how they can use that information to take action.
Use colors selectively
As beautiful as a Van Gogh-like color palette looks, it is probably not the best choice for a data presentation. Remember the last tip: keep it short and simple. You likely will only have a few minutes to present your data—even if there isn’t a strict time limit, after five minutes, you might lose your audience’s attention. This is why selective use of color is so important. Highlight only the significant parts of your data visualization. If you want to communicate that half of your respondents live in mobile homes, use color for that data point and keep the rest in grey (consider using your brand colors as the accent colors). That way, your audience’s eyes jump directly to what you want them to understand.
It can’t be overstated how important and impactful good data can really be. It can be the deciding factor for making decisions that could change a business’s trajectory.
What is your top tip for compelling and effective data presentation?