What is data visualization used for?
When it comes to understanding where your business is at and where it’s going, data visualization is a crucial part of the puzzle
When it comes to understanding where your business is at and where it’s going, data visualization is a crucial part of the puzzle. Having visuals makes it much easier for a member of your team (not to mention potential investors or partners) to understand, ultimately ensuring that your company is able to fully identify and capitalize on its strengths.
All of that being said, having this sort of graphical representation of data can be applied in a variety of different areas and industries. Keep in mind that everyone from users to administrators is more likely to understand data when it’s represented graphically, whether it’s as a pie chart, line graph, or heat map. Especially in a world where big data is being harnessed in a multitude of ways, having this sort of data visualization is key in giving your target audience the appropriate context they need to fully understand a specific date set. Here are just a few use cases for data visualization.
Data visualization helps you understand change over time.
One of the most common types of data visualizations you’ll want to use is a simple line chart which is a great way to help you visualize change over time. A line graph presents information across a temporal axis in a way that is easy to understand.
For example, if you’re charting the number of tickets sold to an event or how many new customers you’ve acquired in the past year, having the visuals of an upward line clearly communicates to all that your efforts are creating an increase. On the contrary, having real-time analytics and seeing that your uptick is starting to trend down can help you identify a potential problem before it snowballs into something even more problematic for your enterprise.
Data visualization helps you comprehend performance metrics.
Data visualization is also incredibly helpful when it comes to determining end-of-year bonuses, promotions, and raises. Having a clear-cut bar chart is a great way to illustrate to your staff why certain decisions are made, as it’s hard to argue with a specific data source.
For example, if you’re going to give out a bonus to the top three salespeople on your team, having a leaderboard or dashboard that helps compare each salesperson allows you to clearly reflect on who’s doing the best—and maybe even motivate someone in fourth or fifth place at the same time.
Data visualization helps you identify trends.
A good example of how data visualization can help you find trends and correlations is by using heatmaps which offer a data layer to your software, app, or website. For example, you may have just launched a new mobile site and are worried about how few sales are converting.
By using heat maps, you can overlay your website with colored dots that actually show you where customers are interacting with your website on mobile as compared to desktop. This lets you look for anomalies like clusters of dots in the wrong place, ultimately allowing you to discover trends in user behavior and design solutions that address those issues.
Data tells a story.
At its heart, data tells a story. However, much like reading a high-level medical or legal textbook, if you don’t have a frame of reference, the words in that book are meaningless. This is where data visualization can be a powerful tool since a simple line chart or cluster helps present the kind of actionable insights that a case study can’t communicate with words alone.
Whether you’re leveraging a chart to illustrate the growth in customer satisfaction following the rollout of a new omnichannel call center software solution or are using heatmaps to demonstrate why users are struggling to use your app, the marriage of interactive visualization and storytelling can help your business present key takeaways in a new way.