How do you organize the data your company generates? Surely you have faced information overload or have had to organize data from multiple sources, which is why today we will share with you some of the simplest and most effective ways to represent data.

Without a doubt, the way the data is presented, for example in a KPI report, is very important, as it will help to easily understand the information and extract the most relevant knowledge for correct decision-making.

Data visualization is an excellent tool for your report to have the desired impact. If you do it efficiently and effectively, you will make sense of your data and create the best strategies for your business.

What is data visualization?

Simply put, data visualizations are graphs that reveal data and values. They help simplify spreadsheets or tables of data into images that are easier to digest and from which insights can be derived.  

The usefulness of visualization is that you can take an enormous amount of data and compress it into a simpler form, so that complex ideas and perceptions can be communicated clearly.  

Humans are a visual species, this makes it easier for us to recognize repeating trends, perceptions and outliers which then help inform the choices we make about how to conduct our business.  

Surely as a company you have the need to consolidate, classify and represent an increasing volume of information, so knowing the different ways of representing data will help you assess the performance of your organization.

How does data visualization work?

If you want to start using data visualization to improve your reporting and business operations, there are several different ways to get started. 

There are dashboard software that helps you organize and visualize your data; You will need to connect the data sources you want to analyze and allow you to access predefined visualizations or create your own reports. 

The system that best suits your needs will depend on the data sources you want to analyze, your level of experience in data analysis, and the degree of customization you need.  

Keep in mind that to get the most out of the data you’re collecting, it’s important to have a basic understanding of which visualizations to use and when. Without this foundation, data visualizations and reports will not have the same impact on your business. 

Ways to represent data

There are different ways to represent data. These are some of the main types of graphs that will help you make sense of the information your business generates:

1. Line graph

The line graph or linear graph is one of the most common types of data visualization. They are effective in showing the progress of data over time. 

If tracking a particular metric over a specific time period is your main goal, a line graph is probably your best option. Line charts are great for tracking sales, advertising campaigns, and key performance indicators over time.  

Some of the advantages of line graphs are:

  • They are easy to create and understand
  • Can represent multiple metrics at once
  • They help you detect trends
  • They are useful for forecasting and decision making

When line graphs don’t make sense: when it comes to showing quantities, categorical data, or very sparse data sets.

2. Vertical and horizontal bar graph

Bar graphs are another of the most used ways to represent data. They are used when you have data that can be compared. 

If you have several different metrics or categories of data that you need to see side by side, this will be your best option. Whether you want to present data vertically or horizontally will depend on your data set. Vertically is usually ideal; However, if you have categories with longer names, or a much larger data set, horizontal may be the perfect way to go.  

Bar charts can be used to compare many types of data, including marketing KPIs.

3. Pie or pie chart

When the data you have collected requires a part-to-part relationship to be represented, a pie or pie chart is the best way to summarize it.

A side-to-side relationship is important when you want to know what percentage of the business a certain category represents, such as new customer acquisition or advertising spending from different marketing channels, or the representation of a certain category of products or services. a certain segment of customers compared to the whole. 

This can help you see where to shift focus when making decisions for your business. Follow these recommendations when using pie charts to ensure simplicity and clarity.   

  • Limit sections to 5 or less for ease of reading and understanding.
  • Only use the colors necessary to distinguish the sections.
  • Make sure the circle adds up to 100% when using percentages.
  • Avoid using 3D effects in your graphics
  • Don’t skip putting the percentage for each section, this will create confusion.

4. Area graph

Area graphs are another way to represent data. They are similar to line graphs, but differ slightly in that they are filled with color below the lines to indicate the magnitude of changes over time. 

While this type of data can be represented with a line graph, it can be more striking with an area graph, especially when the metrics you are measuring have had a significant jump or drop over time that you want to highlight.

5. Data tables

Charts are exceptionally useful when you need to be able to quickly summarize, sort, group, filter, sum, or average large amounts of data.

Although a table chart is not a very impressive visualization on its own, it is useful when it comes to organizing data into useful subsets, which can be used to create more compelling visualizations.  

While a pie chart or line graph can perfectly represent a static set of data, a pivot table can help organize the data set in several different ways.  

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