This text initially appeared on Column Five.
If you wish to inform a powerful story, information is the best way to go. Whether or not it’s proprietary information, business analysis, or public information, there are compelling tales throughout. However even the most effective information story can lose impression if it isn’t offered the fitting approach. That’s why it’s so necessary to decide on the fitting information visualization format on your information.
We discover that there’s a lot of misinformation or misunderstanding round this subject. Many individuals assume that throwing a few charts and graphs into an article is all they should inform information story. Or they assume they will stuff a trillion information factors into an infographic and name it a day. Whereas the intention is perhaps proper, the execution is so fallacious.
We would like you to inform the most effective information tales you possibly can, so we’re breaking down the various kinds of storytelling codecs that can assist you select the most effective on your information. (Notice: This isn’t completely prescriptive, however it ought to ship you in the fitting route.)
DATA VISUALIZATION FORMATS/TOOLS
Earlier than we dive in, let’s clear up just a few phrases to specify what we’re speaking about. Relating to information storytelling, individuals have a tendency to make use of sure phrases interchangeably (or misuse them completely), however there are very various kinds of information mediums and information visualization codecs. For the needs of this publish, right here’s how we break it down.
Knowledge visualization: Within the strictest sense, this refers back to the precise visible illustration of information. This will imply basic charts and graphs or bigger, extra sophisticated visuals. However it’s in regards to the visible particularly.
Data design: Data design is the visible illustration of data—with no information in any respect (consider an organizational circulate chart). We received’t be speaking about data design right here, however we predict it’s necessary to grasp the excellence.
Infographic: An infographic is a graphic that features information, copy, and visuals. These components work symbiotically to inform the story. (Which means your infographic could embrace information visualizations.)
Animated infographic: These are infographics that embrace movement or animation. These should not interactive (see beneath), as a result of the viewer doesn’t management the movement or animation.
Interactive infographic: An interactive infographic is any web-based content material that permits you to work together with the info on the display screen. It’s possible you’ll scroll over, click on, broaden, or in any other case manipulate the on-screen information.
Movement graphic: These are animated graphics that inform a narrative. Movement tales might be informed via kinetic textual content, animated visuals, or each.
Video: That is live-action movie, which can additionally incorporate textual content, graphics, and many others.
Fortunately, you might have extra choices than ever to inform your story. However this may additionally make it difficult to decide on which is greatest.
BEFORE YOU CHOOSE A DATA VISUALIZATION FORMAT
There are a lot of components that affect the way you may greatest current your story. Earlier than you determine on a format, consider the larger image. Every of those could have an effect on the route you’re taking.
Aim: Earlier than you create something and even provide you with an thought, you must at all times know what your purpose is. That is simply as necessary to information storytelling as the rest. Are you attempting to extend model consciousness? Set up your experience? Interact your social followers? Some codecs will help you obtain these objectives greater than others.
Story: An efficient information story isn’t only a smattering of stats. In case you’ve achieved your job effectively and teased out the insights, you possibly can craft a story to disclose that story. That stated, the story you’re attempting to inform will very a lot dictate the info visualization format you select. Is there a transparent message? Are individuals meant to uncover or assign their very own that means to the story? Are you making a helpful useful resource? Are you attempting to information them to a subsequent motion? Hold this in thoughts.
Quantity of information: This is without doubt one of the greatest points we see again and again. Folks can go data-crazy generally and extract a mountain of information to show right into a story. That’s good, however you will need to contemplate how a lot information is de facto required to inform the story. Typically you might have tens of millions of information factors, and that’s OK. Simply don’t stuff these into the world’s longest infographic.
Viewers: Who’re you attempting to achieve along with your information story? Who can be all for it? What stage of data or understanding have they got? What information visualization codecs are they accustomed to interacting with? In case you are focusing on older boomers, for instance, a elaborate interactive won’t be the best way to go.
Distribution: The place will your information story reside? In your weblog? On social? Printed on an business web site? How will you drive visitors to the piece? Know this from the get-go. In case you are attempting to interact individuals on social, the format you select certain as hell higher be optimized for social. (We as soon as designed an exquisite animated infographic solely to search out out the writer’s platform didn’t assist the format. Then we cried.)
CHOOSING YOUR DATA VISUALIZATION FORMAT
Every information story is exclusive, so there isn’t a single rule or formulation for selecting the most effective presentation. Nevertheless, some are higher suited than others that can assist you obtain your objectives.
A powerful information visualization can be utilized alone or as half of a bigger piece. The ability of strict information visualization lies in, in fact, the visualization. A surprising visible shouldn’t be solely aesthetically interesting however lets the viewer “see” the story. Typically, a easy information visualization might be much more highly effective than an in depth story with extra copy or context.
Good for: Knowledge visualizations are sometimes used as one half of a bigger story in an infographic, white paper, e-book, on social, and many others. (Easy visualizations are particularly helpful for conditions wherein time or consideration is proscribed and you could inform the story “at first sight,” similar to a visible at a tradeshow sales space.)
Instance: This straightforward information visualization is a handy information to grilling meat. The info is depicted in chart type, making it simple for readers to get the information they want at a look.
To ensure your information visualizations are efficient, design them in accordance with greatest practices. Learn how to try this with our Data Visualization 101 guide.
Infographics are significantly helpful to speak in a easy, clear, and easy-to-understand approach. They’re aesthetically partaking and simple to share, making them an excellent software for model consciousness. Publishers have turn into more and more all for infographics, as they visually improve tales. Moreover, panels or slices from infographics might be repurposed as microcontent, serving to to additional promote the piece of content material and provide you with extra bang on your buck.
Good for: Social, content material advertising and marketing, visible aids, editorial publishing, and many others.
Instance: This Jobvite infographic on paid parental go away tackles a related topic for his or her target market and presents information in an easy-to-understand method.
Animated infographics have all the identical advantages of infographics, however the addition of movement makes them extra attention-grabbing. They’re possibility if you wish to combine up your content material and experiment with movement with out making a full-on interactive or movement graphic. Like infographics, movement components will also be repurposed in different areas.
Good for: Social, advertorial, or editorial, particularly conditions the place you could seize consideration to draw individuals to the content material.
Instance: We helped Newscred visualize the outcomes of their content material advertising and marketing survey by creating an animated infographic. The modular design allowed panels for use individually or collectively.
Be taught extra in regards to the power of motion in visual content.
Interactive infographics are perfect for situations wherein you might have an unlimited quantity of information that must be simply navigable. It’s possible you’ll current that as an exploratory interactive, wherein customers can dive into the info to extract their very own that means, or as a story interactive, wherein you information them via the interactive. Interactives require the viewer to actively have interaction by bodily inputting data or manipulating information. It additionally encourages the viewer to spend extra time with the content material.
Good for: Engagement, deep information exploration, and immersive storytelling.
Instance: We turned 10 million cells of information from a Northwestern University Qatar survey right into a clear, colourful, easy-to-navigate piece. The interactive permits for exploratory storytelling, the place the person can determine what information they’re most all for.
Be taught extra in regards to the benefits of interactive stories.
Movement graphics are significantly helpful when you might have an summary idea or a narrative that wants extra context to attach the dots. It’s a contained storytelling format, which makes it simpler to ship a succinct story or direct message. It is usually passive, permitting the viewer to sit down again and take up.
Good for: Telling a succinct story in a brief period of time.
Instance: We collaborated with NBC Universal to create a movement graphic encouraging People to scale back meals waste, utilizing information from the Pure Sources Protection Council.
Video has turn into an more and more widespread medium, largely because of social platforms. Like movement, video also can incorporate textual content, graphics, and information visualization and affords a chance to display creativity. Nevertheless, maybe its strongest promoting level is its potential to place a “human” spin on information tales by placing actors entrance and heart.
Good for: Telling a succinct story in a brief period of time, particularly if you end up attempting to create an emotional reference to the content material.
Instance: We partnered with Foodbeast and Totino’s to assist inform a knowledge story about People’ binge-watching habits. Utilizing the precise Totino’s product as a visible challenged us to provide you with artistic information visualization.
Be taught extra about why people are so drawn to video.
REMEMBER: STORY FIRST
It doesn’t matter what information visualization format you select, bear in mind the fundamentals that may make it succeed: Robust information and a robust story. In case you want slightly assist in that space, listed below are some issues which may assist: