The science of storytelling: data visualization
The famous saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Today, with so much information bombardment, shorter attention spans and a paucity of time, this saying is turning truer by the day. We need to be able to present any sort of information in a visual and story format if we want to attract and sustain the attention of the lay users while also making them better understand the information and its implications. The weather and traffic maps are good examples of how large volumes of data are put together in one picture and simple enough for people to make sense of. This is basically what data visualization does.
What is data visualization?
Data visualization is nothing but the representation of large volumes of data in a graphical or pictorial format in order to help all business users understand difficult concepts, unearth new patterns and correlations and turn insights into action. It enables better business interactions between stakeholders and insightful decision making due to its improved memorability, persuasiveness and engagement. Data visualization is an effective method even when the data is voluminous and unstructured.
Businesses and data visualization
Thanks to the advent of technology and penetration of the internet even to remote locations, quintillions of data are generated by people around the world. Data visualization has become all the more important today owing to this exponential growth in the volume of data that is available at the disposal of businesses. Data analytics and data science have helped businesses to make sense of such data, unearthing patterns, trends and correlations in even unstructured, scattered, raw data that are seemingly unrelated. Using this, businesses are able to get insights based on which they can plan their activities to ensure the best business outcomes. They can forecast trends in sales volumes, demand, etc., identify areas that need improvements, they can get insights about customer behaviour among others. As businesses understand the importance of data science and data analytics, there has been a spurt in the demand for qualified and skilled data professionals. This, in turn, has increased the demand for data analytics, data science and business analytics online certificates.
Today, data visualization is changing the way analytics itself is working. Analytics involves numbers and numbers are not a strong suit for many. This restricts the way non-analysts use data analytics; not everyone in an organization is proficient in Maths or Statistics or Economics to make sense of numbers/ numeric representation in Spreadsheets. Data has to be presented in a way that a majority of employees and business stakeholders understand it, considering how important it is for everyone, starting from the top management and founders to those in the implementation level, to understand the data insights if they are to implement business decisions effectively. And visual representation in a story format is the most appealing ways to do this.
Experts strongly believe that the demand for storytellers through data visualization will continue to grow at a rapid pace, increasing salaries and benefits for those with the relevant skills. This is the reason why data analytics, data scientists and even non-analytics managers are looking for the best business analytics courses in India that teach them the necessary skills in data visualization and the science of storytelling. Those with business analytics online certificates and direct certification will continue to have a competitive edge in the years to come.
Storytelling is generally viewed as an art. But with the advancement in the various tools of data visualization, storytelling is being considered science as well. The tools available at the disposal of data experts range from simple line diagrams, bar diagrams, data plots and pie charts to more complex charts like timeline plotting, map plots, etc. to infographics which combine text, numbers and images to not just draw insights by effectively weave convey them as a data store. Experts in the field believe both drawing insights and effectively conveying them to the business stakeholders are indispensable parts of data storytelling, that it is of no use if the rich insights drawn cannot be conveyed properly.
The science of data storytelling involves three important components: data, visuals and narratives. When these components are effectively combined, they enable better data storytelling. Narratives combined with data help data storytellers to explain the context, provide a commentary on data insights and highlighting their importance. Combining data with visuals enables storytellers to make the users/ audience aware of patterns, trends, correlations and outliers present in the data, that may otherwise be obscure to them. Data storytellers can effectively engage the audience by combining narratives and visuals. When all three components are correctly chosen and combined in the correct fashion, data storytellers will be able to influence and drive change.
As discussed earlier, data visualization and storytelling are fast-growing fields. If you are considering entering this field, you must consider joining one of the best business analytics courses in India and give your career a boost.