5 Best Practices for Better Data Visualizations | MicroStrategy
Data Visualization

5 Best Practices for Better Data Visualizations

“Graphical elegance is often found in simplicity of design and complexity of data.” —Edward Tufte

In enterprise organizations, the lack of data will never be an issue. IDC predicts that by 2025, the global datasphere (the data we capture, create and replicate) will balloon to 175 zettabytes—with 65% of the global datasphere being generated by enterprise organizations, and nearly 30% of it created in real time.

For enterprise organizations, a lack of understanding around data remains the challenge. More than a quarter of respondents in the 2020 Global State of Enterprise Analytics Report say a lack of data-related skills and training is holding their organization back from using analytics more effectively.

So how do you get an increasing number of stakeholders interested and involved, even as the quantity and complexity of data grows? Data visualization is a top tool, but many don’t do it well. To help provide best practices, InfoCepts data visualization specialist Len OToole recently led a workshop on dossier design that’s now available to watch on demand. Here are his five best practices for better data visualizations:

  1. Don’t use too many images. In addition, watch your backgrounds. Don’t use visually complicated images, or high resolution ones as they’ll slow down your load time, especially on mobile devices. The old saying, “less is more,” is true.
  2. Reduce the ink to data ratio. Remove unnecessary borders, axis lines, background colors, and overly complicated legends that compete for attention.
  3. Desaturate your colors. Use neutral colors primarily with a single highlight color to more prominently and easily convey your message.
  4. Use chapters and pages. Make it easier to understand large amounts of data and related data by organizing it like chapters in a book. Dossiers naturally lend themselves to this type of data storytelling.
  5. Stick to your story. What is the story you’re trying to relay? Keep asking yourself this as you hone and simplify your design.

Want more dossier and data visualization design and performance tips, with a look at how to make the most of MicroStrategy 2020’s free form canvas feature? Watch the on-demand workshop here or join our upcoming Dossier Tips and Tricks webcast.

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