I suppose there are two ways an analytics pro can look at visualization. One could view it as window dressing to satisfy business unit managers who just don't understand data. Or, someone could view visualization as the unveiling of results from their hard, smart work.
I'll guarantee that the first approach will result in a sloppy presentation, leave the business manager confused, and doom the valuable but underutilized data to the trashbin. Worse, a business problem won't get solved, and that business manager is going to think twice before calling on the "numbers guys" in analytics for any future help.
What could possibly go wrong with delivery of data? The business manager could get a 20-tab spreadsheet simply loaded with numbers. An analyst could present a screenshot showing 87 colored, overlapping bubbles of varying sizes that the business manager sees as just a bunch of bubbles. You could display an animated map of the globe, turning and flashing lights representing cities all over the world. With no accompanying explanation, the business manager will simply see a bunch of lights.
In a recent blog, Misunderstood? Try Data Storytelling, Lisa Morgan highlighted the importance of storytelling as a means to deliver data.
Sometimes visualization alone isn't enough. And, sometimes the visualization itself simply is lacking.
So, what makes a good visualization?
Scott Berinato has some ideas, and is ready to share some best practices in visualization. Berinato is a senior editor with the Harvard Business Review and a self-described dataviz geek. He also is author of the book Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations, in which he shares best practices in dataviz.
Berinato joins All Analytics Radio on Thursday, October 13, at 2 pm EDT to discuss those best practices.
In preparation for the Thursday show, he has shared some examples of poor visualizations that he improved. Check out these three before and after samples that he will reference in his chat.
Register now. Then join us on Thursday for my interview with Scott Berinato, and bring your questions about best practices in visualization.