Pie charts, statistics, keywords, flowcharts. Are you rolling your eyes yet? Well, stop it. These are just a few examples of how visual analytics and infographics have transformed the way we interpret and mobilize data. Just imagine what life would be like if instead of using charts and images, we were forced to understand complicated data-sets and their relation to one another just by looking at a bunch of numbers or text. Still hate pie charts?
What on earth are “visual analytics”?
Visual analytics means producing interactive, observable representations of information and they’re designed to get your critical thinking cells firing on all cylinders. In the marketing and social media worlds, infographics have become a popular and preferred way to deliver a message or tell a story that goes way beyond the charts and graphs most of take for granted. Visual analytics transform clunky statistical information into simplified, tidy and powerful images that stick (most recently we’ve created infographics around the BYOD movement, cloud computing, and the green tech power behind cloud computing) .
Having a visual representation of business data helps us to better conceptualize connections and proportions and find real meaning in the numbers. It’s the difference between reading that a building is sixty storey’s tall, and seeing a sixty story building. And with a little help from the cloud, you don’t have to be a big tech company to make that kind of impact.
A survey of 600 small businesses by Manta, “the largest online community dedicated entirely too small business,” indicated that 90% of respondents are actively engaged in social networking activities while 42% of business owners said that a quarter of their new customer were recruited through social media outlets. The medium is established and businesses need to make the message count. Small businesses need to keep in mind that infographics allow you to share key statistics and have the potential to go viral driving traffic to the company’s website and social media pages. What better way to speak to clients, users and potential customers than through images that elegantly inform and inspire your network?
Creating Your Own Infographic
To build a strong infographic companies must first take inventory of which statistics and messages they most want to communicate to their audience. Equally important is the design layout and framework including the overall color palette as well as finding the right low or no cost application to help build the finished product. Businesses can use cloud data expressed through personalized applications to craft colorful and clever infographics with the tools available through sites like these. Companies can easily create applications to run both static and interactive charts that are up to date and easy-to-share.
Whatever the message, the key function of visual analytics is to say it quickly, clearly and with style. For a great piece on the value and impact of visualizing data, check out Data Journalist and Information Designer, David McCandless’ TED Talk, The Beauty of Data Visualization.