Data storytelling? What It Is And Why It Is Important

11. March 2020

 

Data storytelling is about how you communicate data and information effectively to your target group. To put it simply, data is a collection of facts that describes something (e.g. the top ten number of most listened songs in your Spotify playlist or the most common genre of movies you watched on Netflix). These facts or relevant insights need to be represented in visualizations, e.g. tables or graphs. Dashboards or spreadsheets eventually tell the story. Storytelling is not only seen in data. People tell stories to share information from their daily lives all the time!

The importance of effective data storytelling

Many organizations are not able to communicate their data effectively because the visualizations in dashboards or spreadsheets lack context. This makes it hard for clients to read these visualizations and understand the main message. That is why it is important to use context in order to discover links between the different visualizations. Context is also crucial in order to avoid misunderstandings – when people try to share information by telling stories.

Data storytelling meme

How to be an effective data storyteller?

Effective data storytellers know the target group, understand the context and the problem to be solved before making a deep dive into the data. They make sure that appropriate visualizations represent facts or create relevant insights. Additionally, an effective data storyteller has a clear idea about the solution. A limited amount of visualizations tell the actual stories and only the most relevant data is represented. Lastly, short and appealing texts add a powerful message to the dashboard or spreadsheets.

What are the advantages of data storytelling?

  1. Data storytelling has meaning. People can relate to the information from the visualizations with their knowledge and their problem.
  2. Data storytelling is accurate. The information is based on facts.
  3. Data storytelling is powerful. The visual information is easy to understand and remember. It is also appealing to read, while unnecessary information is not represented.

Do you have any questions about Data Storytelling? If so, contact me via my personal contact details in the author section below this blog-post.

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Julian Alferink