To capture attention and inspire action, data needs to do more than sit on the page.
Great data visualization goes beyond bar graphs and pie charts, shining a spotlight on crucial findings and pointing to smarter decisions. To make the most of visualization, though, you need to choose the right approach for your needs. Here are four essential questions that will help you get maximum value out of any visualization project.
1. Who is my audience?
Understanding your audience is always job #1. How much do they know about your topic? What are their priorities? How invested are they in your subject? Most popular infographics are targeted toward a general audience; they act as primers, with a series of small treatments that get you oriented quickly in key areas.
2. What decisions need to be made with the data?
Some data is intended to drive long-term, strategic decisions; other data is geared to short-term problem solving. There are formats for these needs, and many in between.
When a major global hotel company asked GfK to help its property managers monitor guest satisfaction and loyalty in real-time, we designed an interface and dashboard that put a great deal of information at their fingertips and quickly pointed to problems they needed to focus on immediately—such as guests who have reported a problem with a room—as well as longer-term guest loyalty metrics. This format takes into account not only the depth and type of data available, but also the orientation and priorities of the user.
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