Data Visualisation: the good, bad & beautiful

Data visualisation has been around for centuries, however with the invention of the personal computer this has created accessibility to diverse data for decision making process. Today visualisation is ever evolving and now comprised of science, creativity and art which is used by many organisations as an effective means to generate value and wealth.

What is data visualization? It is the presentation of data in a pictorial, graphical or an animation format that enables decision makers to see analytics presented visually. Allowing individuals and teams to grasp difficult concepts or identify new patterns that can add value to their respective organisations. More advanced visualizations are interactive and allow drill downs into charts and graphs for more detail, interactively changing what data you see and how it’s processed.

The human brain processes information, using charts or graphs to visualize large amounts of complex data is easier than poring over spreadsheets or reports. Data visualization is a quick, easy way to convey concepts in a universal manner, identify areas that need attention or improvement.

So why is it so an effective tool in business?

Colour representation has a direct impact on the overall emotion that they can portray:

  • Red symbolizes strength and strong emotion, with passion and intensity
  • Blue represents calmness and serenity, while is prefered by men
  • Yellow is cheerful and warm, but can cause fatigue while reading for extended periods
  • Green symbolises health, tranquility, money and nature
  • Brown is reliability, boredom and practicality
  • Purple defines royalty, wealth, success and wisdom
  • Black represents evil, death, mourning and slimming

The Shape of the graph has an impact on the perception on what the data is representing, which means the wrong visualisation in the wrong situation can be ineffective, here are some examples

  • Squares, rectangles and pyramids: are normally used in a professional setting to show Stability, Strength, Power, Balance and Reliability
  • Circular shapes, are used in a to portray Tenderness, Love, Friendship, Care, Support, Protection, Affection and Compassion.
  • Soft curves: Rhythm, Movement, Happiness, Pleasure, Generosity and Femininity
  • Sharp angled lines are more progressive showing elements of Energy, Lively, Young, Explosive, Violent, Anger, Rapidity, Dynamic and Continuous Movement.

Cognitive resources can are increased, increasing the ability to remember information presented and use more effectively for working memory.

Reduction in overall search and recall time, and allowing a large amount of data to be represented on a small space.

Recognition of patterns in data can be organized in a comprehensive timeline, this can show relationships in different fields that would never been associated before.

Supporting perceptual inference of relationships that are otherwise more difficult to induce.

What areas of your business can be portrayed visually:

  • All aspects of the Sales and Marketing process
  • Financial ratios and trends
  • Factors that influence customer behaviour
  • Understanding what products to develop and where there is a demand
  • Production bottlenecks, and where improvements are required
  • Staff performance

The possibilities are endless, however the journey does not need to be complicated. Tools like Oqlis are giving the power of data analytics to the business users to make value based decisions.

Data can be appealing to even the most skeptical employee, so start the process and contact us at!