One of the most significant advances in the last few decades has been how companies collect, store, and analyze their data. With a massive increase in data, new methods are required to organize and analyze these numbers. That demand is the foundation of data visualization. This article will define data visualization, discuss some common applications, and end with the tangible benefits of implementing it within your organization.
What is Data Visualization?
Data visualization is taking a large amount of raw data and diagramming it into a graph, chart, image, or analytical structure. This helps with taking a large pool of data and making it easy to understand what the numbers mean and how they relate to tangible aspects of your business.
Additionally, one of the most critical parts of data visualization is the ability to draw trends from a diagram based on data you’ve collected from your users. Seeing a data set in a visual diagram makes it easier to find trends, patterns, outliers, and other important indicators to optimize your processes. A great option is the use of online whiteboards.
Data visualization strategies
Data visualization comes in many forms and can be applied to an infinitely large number of data sets. There are some common themes, however, so here we’ll outline some common use cases for data visualization and some of the formats these diagrams take.
Customer Experience (CX)
One of the best ways you can visualize data is through aggregating customer feedback. CX is extremely important to creating a good product, and the primary method of understanding the customer experience is through their feedback. Data visualization helps display what people think (based on general sentiments) and allows you to display data collected through surveys to show general product trends.
This means you can create accurate product changes based on direct feedback from hundreds of customers. However, making real changes is only possible after you visualize large amounts of feedback to determine the best course of action.
Understanding customer intent is one of the main pillars of any marketing strategy. With increased traffic and money coming from online sources, it’s more important than ever that marketing teams keep their finger on the pulse of their online data. Data visualization allows marketing teams to analyze every specific detail of data collected for the ideal optimization strategy.
Finance is a field that has used data visualization for a very long time and to good effect. The most prominent example of this is in the stock market. The line graphs we see representing price action over a period of time are just an aggregate of data collected and displayed regarding the number of buy and sell options each day and how they affect a stock’s price.
Thanks to a large number of applications, finance is a field that benefits highly from data visualization. Now that we have an initial idea of what fields might benefit most from data visualization, let’s cover some of the most popular diagrams utilized in this process.
The bar graph is one of the most common forms of data visualization, and it is used to compare a (traditionally) fixed x value and a variable y value. This graph can also be stacked with other bars to show the difference between different variables when compared to one another.
Line charts are best at showing trends and commonly compare one variable against time. This chart can also be stacked with the bar graph and is good at showing changes over time or comparative patterns.
The pie chart is good at showing the difference between items when there is a specific choice people make. For example, you could create a pie chart based on the number of people that, when given a choice, pick cereal or fruit for breakfast. This is a perfect diagram to use when integrating customer feedback, especially in surveys with multiple specific options to choose from.
The scatter plot is one of the more popular diagrams to use when determining outliers and individual data points rather than collective figures. This allows you to plot a bunch of points on two axes to see how certain variables line up when compared.
Data visualization benefits
It makes sense that businesses can use it in many different fields. It’s one of the best ways to better understand a large set of numbers that would otherwise take days to comprehend. Here are some of the biggest benefits of conducting data visualization and why it’s so important.
1. Creates Actionable Insights
Enables you to develop a nuanced understanding of the next steps you need to take to meet your business goals. Whether you’re looking at customer feedback, product usage, or marketing analytics. Every diagram will tell a story that informs you about the efficiency of your business. Additionally, these findings can happen much quicker than before because of how efficiently your data is presented.
2. Allows People to Digest Information Quickly
If you gave someone a sheet of numbers in excel, it would take them hours to figure out what they mean and what must be done. If you provide them with a diagram visualizing all of those numbers, however, the answer would be much more apparent. It allows people to digest information exceptionally quickly, moving to the correct conclusion in a very short amount of time.
The brain absorbs information much quicker when displayed graphically instead of textually. Because of this, it creates a cohesive structure that works with your brain’s chemistry to digest and analyze information in a more timely manner.
3. Makes Communication Easier
Another benefit of using data visualization is that it makes communicating data sets much easier and allows multiple people to analyze the same information. Instead of requiring a data scientist to break down a series of information, you can easily share graphics and diagrams with people that might have important insights.
This allows anyone to understand the information and provide a more informed opinion quickly and also improves people’s interest when in an audience or presentation that includes some data.
4. Highlights Clear Patterns
As stated previously, it would be tough to pour through data sets and understand what’s going on without data visualization. It makes it easier to comprehend data sets and allows you to draw clear patterns, trendlines, and outliers much easier.
When things are presented graphically, it’s much easier to analyze macro-level trends that are hard to spot individually and break down the causes for those patterns. This is where visualization helps massively with analytics and understanding the specific implications of data sets.
5. Catalyzes Innovation
Using data visualization to uncover patterns is one of the best ways to innovate. Data-based innovation ensures credibility with future changes and often reflects trends that couldn’t be seen otherwise. It allows people to go deep into the data to spot things that might be looked over in another scenario.
This ability to see increased detail and create innovative progress is one of the biggest benefits of data visualization.
Conclusion on data visualization
People are visual learners, which also applies to how they comprehend data. Data visualization is an incredibly important tool to help understand and communicate complicated data sets, and it will be vital for years to come.
The QuestionPro data visualization tool allows viewing data gathered from offline mobile surveys instantly. Researchers use it to seamlessly sync data from their QuestionPro offline survey app and use interactive charts to analyze and present the data. It provides the perfect data dashboard to access, present, and report on your offline surveys anytime, anywhere.
Now collecting customer feedback, conducting market research, capturing leads offline, and presenting the data in a visually appealing way is as easy as designing a survey using QuestionPro.