With the increasing amount of data being captured and available to businesses, many have to learn to adjust their structure and be conscious of how they should and want to manage their information. However, with that much data, comes the responsibility to use it sustainably and provide transparency to the organization with how it is being managed.
Most organizations deal with personal or secure data in some way, and above all other ethics, is the importance to handle it with respect and accountability. Beyond that, there are also other tips to follow when it comes to working with data, particularly within a data visualization project.
Make sure everyone is on the same page with your data
Developing new goals is exciting and businesses are often eager to dive into all their data once they are first determined. However, it’s also important to take time to critically think about those goals that serve as the backbone for the KPIs and metrics that follow.
Businesses that continuously ask about the initial goals being set can gain a better idea of their initial thought process behind choosing them. For example, determining whether such goals are aligned with the overall purpose of the organization, if sufficient KPIs exist to be measured and can reach those goals, and whether they work best for the audience of that dashboard.
Account for the circumstances surrounding the data
With the vast amount of data that exists within a business, those involved want to make sure their data is reaching its full potential to provide the insights needed to run their organization.
This is where storyboarding comes into play. The information may all be readily available, but storyboarding can enable the data’s capabilities to be comprehensible once the correct KPIs and respective metrics are chosen. It uncovers critical information, such as underlying patterns, relationships, and irregularities that lie within the data sets.
When it comes to dashboards, drilldowns make it possible to account for the circumstances surrounding the data. Throughout storyboarding and building dashboards, a business can create a hierarchy of information to drill down into various factors that are potentially impacting the overarching KPI. Businesses can drill as far down as they need to find what is driving certain numbers.
Delve deeper into the data
Before finalizing a data visualization project and running with the first structure chosen, businesses must return to tip 1 and continue to question if it is going to best communicate what they are intending to reveal with their data.
This will come to fruition once the storyboarding is concluded and businesses take a step back to give a high-level view of their plan. This opens the conversation to make adjustments in the dashboard structures so they can ensure the data being visualized actually reflects what they want to know, not just what they think they know is happening.
Begin the visualization process – don’t rely on only a few visuals
Visualizing data can be the most rewarding step in the process of a dashboard project because a business can finally see their information come together and understand what that means for their performance.
But strategy is also involved in the visualization planning. Decisions need to be made based on who is looking at the dashboard so that the most vital, relevant information is available and communicated in a logical, efficient fashion. Read our guide on The Psychology of Data Visualization to understand factors that go into telling your data’s story.
Keep in mind, however, that when using visuals, one doesn’t want to compromise all that goes into creating what is being seen at first glance. That’s why drilldowns can be really helpful in maintaining the visual aspect for efficient decision-making, but also dig deeper into what is shaping the graphic in that way.
Go all-in with your analytics and consider the human factor
Analytics are the stepping stone between data and key insights of a business. When the data is in place, it makes the process of analysis that much smoother and more streamlined.
Depending on what each individual organization is trying to uncover and report on, dashboards make it easier to analyze performance in many contexts. From descriptive, predictive, to prescriptive analytics, businesses can take control of historical data to be informed of possible future outcomes, and leverage dashboards accordingly to manage expectations and restructure strategies.
Effective analytics allow a business to not only measure where they are currently positioned across KPIs but also fill in information by considering scenarios and relationships the data may not be capturing yet.
Something important to remember throughout the analytic process however, is the human factor. Although analytics themselves are evidence-based from the data being sourced, humans are still involved in the process of developing algorithms and the data selected for them. That’s why it’s so important to always be looking at goals and KPIs with a critical eye to determine that metrics being chosen are most relevant and universal for those relying on and acting upon the information.
Re-evaluate your design
Once again, it’s time to question and challenge the current visual decisions being made. Just like with the data and metrics, it’s important to always be evaluating whether what the choices are leading to the best possible results. Depending on how the data takes form and the relationships that revealed, certain chart types and visuals are more effective than others. There’s nothing wrong with testing out different options to see firsthand how the brain comprehends the data and its implications.
Be open to new discoveries to re-strategize
One final tip when it comes to data ethics is for businesses to remain open to uncovering unexpected insights about their data. It can be easy to get tied down to what one thinks the data is expected to show when it may actually be clarifying new relationships and answers.
Data visualization projects should be seen as works in progress that allow businesses to be adaptable to their findings and proactive about their next steps.
If you’re interested to gain a better grasp on the meaning of your data and learn more about where data visualization can take your business, click here to contact iDashboards.
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