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Data Literacy through data storytelling

Data Literacy through data storytelling

Creating effective and easy-to-understand data visualisations and dashboards are a key part of data literacy. With the skills to read, write, and analyse data, your employees can uncover the right insights for your organisation. How do you get there?

There are three parts of the storytelling that you should explore: the audience, the context, and the data itself. With these three pillars in place, you can begin to create a consistent story for your stakeholders.

Know your data

A crucial part of the storytelling process – and data literacy as a whole – is fully understanding your data. It’s not enough to deep-dive into the raw numbers or fields, clean it up, and then present it; you have to comprehend why the data needs to be presented and what outcome you want.

There are three key questions to ask yourself when considering data storytelling:

  • Do you want the data to create a specific feeling or action?
  • How will you present the data, and to whom?
  • Why was the data collected?

Once you have answered these three core questions, it’s time to figure out how you want to present your data.

Telling your data story

Understandably, you may want to use the basic Pie or Bar chart. After all, those are used as generic graph options. However, there are lots more options, many of which will convey your idea better.

Perhaps you are trying to figure out which regions yielded the best sales in the last quarter, or employee work satisfaction based on which office they are in. Using a Ridgeline plot, for example, would not convey either of these datasets in the most functional or accurate way.

A chart needs to display the information in a way that is not only eye-catching but easy to understand at a glance. Spend some time analysing the data relationship you would like to present. Once you’ve identified the data relationship, you can choose the best chart type to display this information. There’s no harm in experimenting with different chart types. After all, it’s a great way to understand the differences between them.

Okay. You’re not done, yet. Finalising your chat will require a little extra work. The default settings on charts may be cluttered and display too many graphical details – like grid lines or labels – that deter from the core data insights. Start by slowly removing and altering various aspects to figure out how you want to display the information.

And, finally, there are attributes that we use to draw focus to the data story. These are the visual properties we notice at first glances, such as size, shape, or grouping.

Implementing dashboard design

Creating a data dashboard isn’t about having all of your charts on one page, but rather creating a simplified view when displaying numerous different metrics together.

When it comes to dashboard design, try to use these 3 principles:

  • Affordance – Use elements, like font size, to draw a user’s attention to how the data should be understood. Make use of headings and subheadings to guide the reader through the data.
  • Accessibility – You may be showing off the data to a range of people with varying skills and technical levels. Bring the key elements of your data to the forefront and display the most necessary information. Think about adding a question to the title of a chart and the visualisation as the answer.
  • Aesthetics – It needs to be pretty and it needs to hold the reader’s attention. Bring the visualisations into a logical alignment, use colours, and don’t be afraid of white spaces. Of course, it doesn’t need to be said that garish colours that blend in with the background will make a chart difficult to understand (and possibly incomprehensible for anyone that’s colourblind).

With all of this information in hand, you’ll be well on your way to creating captivating data stories. And, of course, one step further in your data literacy journey.

With Vizlib Library for Qlik Sense, you can create compelling dashboards that capture your audience’s attention and steer them to the right insights. Since it’s highly customisable, you can craft your data story in a simple way that supports everyone’s data literacy journey!

Want to know more about data literacy? Download our How-to guide co-authored by Angelika Klidas (Bitmetric) & Vizlib here.

This article is based on Let Your Data Do The Talking by Emily Cline, Sr. Solutions Architect at Vizlib.

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