This is the second post in our series ‘Principles of Data Visualization’ #PoDV
Whether you create visualizations for product dashboards, or interact with them in your day-to-day work, one way to get the most out of visualizations is to understand the goal behind any visualization. It sets the right expectations before you begin to create or analyze the visual, and gives you better results. In this post, we’ll look at two common goals in data visualization, and see how they apply to real-world examples.
Two Goals in Data Visualization
In a business context, the two main goals that visualizations have are as follows:
Let’s discuss each of these goals in detail.
1. Explain Data to Tell a Story
As mentioned in the first post, the reason we visualize data is to tell a story. If the designer of the visual has a story to tell the viewer with the data, the goal of the visual is to explain. There is a defined structure starting from the main narrative, and trickling down to each part of the visual. These visuals are effective for making a point, or conveying an insight from the data. For example, the main narrative in the simple column chart below is to highlight the country with the highest value: