Whether you're speaking at a conference or designing an e-book for your next marketing campaign, data visualizations are a compelling way to quickly communicate complex trends and ideas.

It's essential that these data visualizations be accurate. But you also need to make them easy to read. To achieve both of these goals, you need the help of someone who's not just skilled at design, but at visual communication.

When your data visualization is accurate, accessible, and well-designed, that's when it becomes compelling -- and when it can actually start to transform your business.

Let's take a look at three ways that great data visualization can boost your bottom line.

1. It builds trust.

Whether you're posting a line graph on Twitter or sharing it in the board room, data visualizations let the numbers speak for themselves. Sure, you can tell your customers you're the best in the business, but if you can show it, they'll know you mean what you say.

This is where accuracy is so crucial. Misleading data visualizations happen all the time. For instance, maybe you've seen two bar charts side-by-side whose y-axes are scaled differently, or a "percent increase" shown on a pie chart. These are usually mistakes, and they often happen because they're created by traditionally trained designers without a background in visual communication.

But even an honest mistake can cost you dearly. If customers feel you're trying to pull one over on them, you're likely to lose them. On the other hand, an accurate data visualization backed by compelling numbers shows you're willing and able to prove your claims.  

2. It communicates quickly.

Visuals communicate information to the brain 60,000 times faster than text, according to The SAGE Handbook of Political Communication. That's probably why, if you're hiking in the woods and you see a bear, your heart starts to race and you begin to sweat before the word "bear" ever crosses your mind. Visual communication is primal; it's fundamental; and it was part of our existence countless millennia before written text.

You can spend a lot of time explaining that your sales numbers have grown, over what period of time, and how much. You can talk about the fluctuations and when the slower times of year tend to be.

But a graph will show all of this instantly. Viewers will see overarching trends quickest of all, then they can dive in as much (or as little) as they like for greater nuance.

How does this help your bottom line? You don't just make your point quicker, but you keep them interested, since the most compelling trends will stand out instantly. It's an easier and more natural way to communicate, and they'll be thankful for that. And finally, you'll move them more quickly down the conversion funnel, because you've convinced them of your value 60,000 times faster.

3. It helps you make key decisions.

Businesses are collecting more data than ever, and struggling to figure out what to do with it.

This is where data visualization has become so crucial. Great data visualization makes order out of chaos. It can incorporate a huge quantity of information, and organize it in such a way that patterns and trends become immediately clear.

Only when you can identify patterns can you make key business decisions. Data can help you discover who's really buying your product, when traffic to your website peaks, or where the hitch in your supply chain is. But tons of data is useless without data visualizations to bring meaning to the numbers.

Data visualization is an essential part of business communication today. You may be sharing your department's performance or building a marketing campaign, but in any case, accurate visual communication will help you make key business decisions and connect with your audience.

Just make sure you're incorporating those three essential elements: accuracy, accessibility, and eye-catching design.

Published on: May 6, 2019
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