There was a time when we were thirsty for data. Now we are drowning in it.

Business models were built around the scarcity of data and the inconvenience of gathering all of the information oneself. As a provider of information, the challenges you have now are how to communicate your message clearly and how to add value to surpass that which your customer already has.

While you may not hold the keys to the data warehouse anymore, you are an expert about what lies inside that warehouse, and how that information affects the outcome of a transaction. Fortunately for you, many people don’t know what to do with all of the information they have. You still provide value as a guide to that data.

Data visualization—a combination of graphics, charts, typography and text—is a way to organize and present information in a visually simplified and accessible manner.

When people are multitasking at work, reading a blog during commercials, or checking Facebook at traffic lights (guilty!) simpler ideas always win. In a world where there is too much information available, a simple idea with small amounts of text and large amounts of color do wonders for readability and click-through rates.

My experience with data visualization projects (such as The Flux Report, Roush CleanTech, ClearPoint) has shown repeatedly the magnetic power of data visualization.

A few rules to keep in mind when creating data visualizations:
• Most viewers are hungry for relevant information and want to understand it
• Most viewers are reluctant to commit to reading any significant amount of text
• The human mind instantly attempts to find meaning and relevance in information
• Color, graphics and text together attract more attention than text or graphics alone
• Viewers don’t want to be overwhelmed with information
• Viewers don’t want to work to interpret the information


Vehicle Attribute's graph BEFORE


Vehicle Attribute's graph AFTER

If you keep your points to a small number, then the viewer will be able to focus on your primary message quicker and will have fewer things to distract them. In data visualization, you want to determine what your customer needs to know to make a confident decision. If there are steps required to get from the raw data to a useful answer, you’ll want to work through it to get as close to the answer as possible.

Help your clients by keeping it simple and giving them the answer quickly, with the least amount of work on their part. The antidote to Big Data is simplicity and immediate gratification.


Housing chart

Budget Allocation pie chart