Conclusions aren’t drawn based one one slice of information. It takes days, weeks, and sometimes even years to analyze massive hunks of data. But you can’t show all of that data to your clients.
The data might be in the details, but getting your point across is all about how you tell the story.
Choose the Right Format
Think of all the data you’ve collected from your clients like a Thomas Pynchon novel. It’s big, it’s thick, and it’s full of too many words that make sense to a select few. Now think of data visualization like a Dr. Seuss book. It’s colorful, it has big letters or numbers, and it ends with a moral (or data point).
Charts, graphs, and other formats are ideal for summarizing massive amounts of data. The trick is to boil all of that information down into the parts that you want people to quickly understand – and it really is quickly, since most people will only glance at data charts.
To narrow it down, determine what your data points are. Be specific. Really specific.
Examples of Appealing and Useful Visuals in Portals
Before you can create portal visuals, answer the following:
- What do your clients want to see?
- What do you want your clients to see?
- What will sell your company or brand the most?
- What information is useful?
- What information is not useful?
Put those numbers or details front and center. Make them bold, make them pop, and make sure that the data you need your clients to see is simply understood. Some excellent examples of useful and appealing visuals in portals include:
- Pie charts
- Quick Numbers Presented Clearly
- Images Where Applicable
When Visuals Aren’t Useful
Data is great. But data can also be useless. If you’re creating charts and graphs for the sake of showing your clients how much information you’ve gathered, you may be adding too many visuals. The point of a data visual is, well, to make a point. If you’ve made your point, move on. Do not clutter a portal with too many visuals.
“Sometimes a single number can tell people more about the concept you want them to grasp than a graph or chart can,” says Richard Ho (ARC Software Studios UX Designer). He adds that “…a bad visual has too much data that doesn’t correlate with the title of the graph and doesn’t provide any useful information. It’s not uncommon to see a page full of visuals with no real substance – that’s when you know you’ve gone too far.”
Pushing the Point
You have your data. You’ve digested it. You’ve created pretty charts and graphs that make a solid point. Now what? It’s time to push your points and drive it all home. How? By adding a Call to Action (CTA).
CTAs go something like this: Excellent Data. Excellent Chart. Tell Client What to Do Next.
What is your goal with all of that data and those nice visualizations? Trust us, it’s not obvious to your client. Make it obvious by adding a button that says something like:
- Learn More
- Download This eBook
- Sign Up for X Added Service
- Make Life Simpler by Buying Y
- Add a New Feature to Get Even More Data
You’ve stunned them with your data knowledge. Tell them what do while they’re still stunned.
Data doesn’t have to be as amorphous as it seems. The great thing about numbers is that they can be processed. The important thing about numbers is that they can be easily understood through proper visualization.