Ever since the advent of technology in businesses, the volume of information and knowledge has become mountainous. These vast pools of data are the most integral decision making parameters of every business across the world.
This is the reason that the most valuable companies in the world are all technology businesses with billions of data points to map audiences – Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft & Facebook.
Hence, the modern problem isn’t collecting data, which pours in easily with the right funnel, but the real challenge is making sense of it all. Data visualization, also known as information graphics/visualization simplifies bulked data sets to speak directly to decision-makers.
Importance of Information Visualization
The human mind is tuned to understand and store visual information more prominently than numbers & figures.
Our genetic markup is programmed to see, process, act, and store. This fundamental principle of psychology is the reason visual data is still integral in boardroom presentations, advertisements, and any form of customer conversion.
“It can communicate years of information in seconds with an increased impact”.
Broadly put, the following are some benefits of Data visualization:
- Predictive Sales
- Finding areas of improvement
- Forecast trends & market shifts
- Knowing the factors affecting user behavior
The combination of these points leads to more data-backed decision making which helps in measuring business success and revising strategies for continued returns.
7 Data Visualization Trends for 2021
These technology inspired trends are making waves across industries and motivating people to use information graphics to attract consumers.
1- Social media marries visual data
The power of social media has turned individuals into brands and pushed companies to engage with customers through their social media platforms.
Social channels capture the attention of users with images & visuals. Playing on the same visual bias of human psychology.
Data authenticates an idea or a point of view, this is where data visualization and social media meet.
350 million photos are uploaded on Facebook every day and 95 million on Instagram.
Twitter, a very text focussed social media network also couldn’t escape the pull of images. Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more likes, and 150% more retweets than just text tweets.
Data visualization has become integral for a successful social media presence.
2- Drag & drop for amazing visuals
The ability to visualize data isn’t just in the hands of designers or developers anymore.
Smart data visualization tools make it easy to bring attractive visuals to life by simply entering information and dragging attractive elements onto the image.
This democratization of data is the reason for the mainstream fame of data-inspired visuals. Easy accessibility is what’s making it popular throughout industries.
3- Beyond traditional graphs
Conventional design and graphs are not the only way to display information effectively.
Beyond standard visuals lies the scope of displaying brilliant images that appeal to audiences emotionally & through the displayed statistic.
2021 is showing creative ways to give shape and form to information.
4- Customized for mobile
The future is mobile and it has been heading in that direction for the past 10 years. The approach isn’t to duplicate the desktop format of visualization but to create an entirely new way of presenting data that is comfortable and relevant for smaller screens.
By nature, small businesses are more experimental and flexible in integrating market trends. Many startups realize the benefits of apps and the power of displaying customized data shaped specifically for smartphones & tablets.
This data-visualization trend isn’t new but it is gaining more and more popularity with each passing year. It hasn’t settled in yet, new methods are constantly tested by different companies to provide impactful data-backed visuals.
5- Data now has a story to tell
Interactive & real-time dashboards now communicate a story with cause and solutions. This summarised visual chunk of information is a lot more relevant, time-saving, and useful for people than going through tons of information & trying to make sense of things.
A good example of a visually rich dashboard is the one that you see throughout the Google Analytics site for your business website.
6- Media makes it mainstream
From sports analysis to political success and pole campaigns. Journalism is adopting information visualization in all aspects.
Integrating visuals in News reports makes a strong impression on the viewer and authenticates claims made by news reporters.
Although this does invite a world of questions about the legitimacy of the sources often quoted by media houses in their data reports it is irrefutable that this trend is here to stay.
7- Augmented Analytics
The use of powerful AI & ML for making sense of big data and presenting it visually is a trend that is attracting many eyeballs.
This entire process can also be automated for added convenience. This could become a major tool for predictive analytics & more data-fueled decision making.
According to IDC, the spending on Artificial intelligence systems will peak to $77.6 billion by 2022. An astounding figure that validates the importance of smart technologies in shaping data visualization for business use.
5 Tips for impactful data visualization
The following design & text dips will help in making a big impact and create better recall amongst viewers.
1) Keep the widgets simple ~ Uncomplicated and easy to understand design elements make images more understandable.
2) Use contrasting colors ~ Black & White, White & Red, White & Green, these are a few examples of contrasting color combinations. Simply put, light & dark shades mixed together are more captivating and memorable.
3) Relevant facts only ~ Try not to add too much information. Less is more with image content.
4) Catchy headings ~ images speak for themselves but they go even better with catchy headlines.
5) Use Dashboards ~ If a fresh & accurate content display is the goal then a real-time dashboard can make it very easy to have all relevant information in one place.
Data Visualization makes use of our preference for images and combines it with researched data. It is the most ideal way to summarize & display data to form predictions, plan strategies, measure performance, and create a lasting impact on users. The practice of visualizing findings is gaining massive appeal in all walks of our lives. This is precisely why creating impactful visuals have become so easy in 2021. These 7 trends will push the ceiling of creativity even further until data visualization becomes a common practice across domains.
New trends & techniques are set by bold organizations that go for out of the box solutions and in the process re-invent existing ideas.