5 Key Strategies for Making Data Visualization Accessible

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Read more about author Daniel Jebaraj.

If I can’t picture it, I can’t understand it.” —Albert Einstein

Research has found that 65% of the general population are visual learners, meaning they need to see information as images to understand it. The business world confirms this: Visualization is essential in driving success. Take, for instance, data visualization, or, the art of translating data into a visual story through various graphics. There are countless benefits of data visualization in business. Whether used to measure marketing effectiveness, forecast revenue, or understand your customers, it is the core of modern business intelligence. The market reflects this, boasting the global data visualization tools market valued at USD 9.22 billion in 2022, with expected growth at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.4% from 2023 to 2030. Given its appeal, the market size, and the necessity of driving business decisions, it is highly beneficial to understand visualization. 

Recognizing the essential role of data visualization in business intelligence, it’s evident that accessibility is key to unleashing its potential. Here, I discuss the top five strategies for making data visualization accessible in business:

  1. Implement Intuitive Visualization Tools

Data visualization tools should be designed for ease of use, involving software that accommodates different levels of expertise and offers features like interactive filtering options and drill-down capabilities. By ensuring that users need little to no technical skill, we democratize the use of data, allowing everyone the opportunity to gain meaningful insights from complex datasets.

  1. Adopt Strong Design Principles

Develop and adhere to a set of design principles that captivate the audience, including a cohesive color scheme, simple typography, and a thoughtful layout. These elements will improve the readability and impact of data visualizations, making them engaging and easy to interpret.

  1. Choose Appropriate Visualization Formats

Different visualizations serve different purposes, so the type of visualization should match the type of data being presented. Ensuring a match between the data and its visual representation will enhance clarity and effectiveness. For example, there are bar charts for comparisons, line charts for trends over time, pie charts for proportions, and maps for geographic context. Train team members to recognize which visualizations are best for a particular category of data and the related objectives. 

  1. Storytelling through Data Visualization

Aim to connect emotionally with the audience by making the data meaningful and memorable. Identify a core message within the data, using a logical flow and visual elements like color coding to highlight key features. A compelling visualization will tell a story that guides viewers through the data to uncover insights. 

  1. Facilitate Collaboration and Sharing

Implement collaborative features in data visualization tools and encourage a culture of shared analytics. And this isn’t just for leadership! Practical visualization tools support cooperative efforts in data-driven projects. Features like annotations and shared dashboards can encourage team members to share insights, fostering an environment where diverse and representative perspectives drive decision-making. 

As we continue to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of business intelligence, remember that the power of data visualization is not just in the numbers and charts but also in the stories they tell and the decisions they drive. By simplifying complexity with user-friendly tools, enhancing visual appeal, choosing appropriate visualizations, using visuals to tell a data story, and facilitating collaboration, businesses can unlock the full potential of their data. Embracing these strategies democratizes data analytics, ensuring insights are impactful and actionable, enhances decision-making, and fosters a culture of informed data-driven innovation.