Importance of Data Visualization: Text/Numbers vs. A Visual Chart/Graph

Importance of Data Visualization: Text/Numbers vs. A Visual Chart/Graph

A picture is worth a thousand words! Human mind is conditioned to consume visual data quicker than numbers or text. Instead of writing a long article, why don’t we show you visually what we mean? 

Let’s use an example. Here is a slide that shows the due dates of a course.

Importance of Data Visualization

Points to note (Important Dates Slide): 

  • The slide is too wordy
  • It would take the reader more time to read and consume the information presented here
  • The reader is also not able to understand the full duration of course and how the dates connect with each other, how far apart each of the assignments are, and how much time do they have been each deliverable

Now here is the same information presented in a visual format, but there are still some flaws here that can be fixed to optimize it and convey the required information rather quickly. 

Points to note (Important Dates in a Timeline Format Slide): 

  • Here, it’s easier to see what comes after what and how many important dates there are, however, each item is equally spaced, which is not correct because the gap between the different dates is not all equal

Below is a much better view.

Points to note (Important Dates in a Calendar View Slide): 

  • The calendar view makes it super easy to see what comes when and how far apart each important date and deliverable is
  • The students would be able to easily visualize their schedule for the next 2 months using this format

But how about we take it up a notch. What do you think about this now?

Points to note: 

  • In this final enhanced version, important due dates for the 2 deliverables are highlighted in green and all other important dates are in red
  • Icons make it easier to see what each block is about and makes the slides visually appealing
  • Students can see how far apart each important date is and when the course starts and finishes easily

Calendar view is one example of how this information could be visually presented. There are many more ways or approaches one can take.Since this is part creative work, everyone would come up with a different view, but the main guiding principles remain the same. 

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Importance of Data Visualization: Text/Numbers vs. A Visual Chart/Graph
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