Communicating with insightful reports and dashboards has now become a norm in the enterprises. Whether it is employee performance, revenue, or marketing outcomes, the leadership looks forward to data-driven presentations that can correlate various KPIs and put everything into the perspective clearly.
While most of the self-service business intelligence platforms enable business users to create reports and dashboards easily, the users can further apply some simple tricks and tips to make their reports even more compelling. Here are some DIY things that can make your data analysis more powerful, engaging, and convincing.
Prep your data well
Well-prepared and cleansed data is the key to building meaningful visualizations. When creating a report, ensure that the data points that you pick are relevant for the audience of that report. Figure out which user would want what level of details and then create data stories accordingly. For example, while a CEO may want to know the overall sales of different product categories, the sales head may want to delve deeper into location-wise or person-wise sales performance. Use features like filtering, grouping, or sorting to transform the report as per the audience and their requirement. While these data points are correlated and complement each other, how you highlight and present them according to the audience will make your story more engaging.
Let the visualizations do the talking
No matter how complex the data is, ensure that your charts and graphs are easy to understand and self-explanatory. They should convey the meaning of your report in a single glance. Use upfront titles and labels so that the purpose of your report is conveyed clearly.
While creating charts and graphs keep in mind the inferences that your audience would draw and what decisions would they make. Identify what will be the key takeaway for the viewers of your report and how your visualization will help them in making a decision. Follow the latest UX practices and ensure that your visualizations showcase actionable insights, trends, predictions, and the next best actions impactfully. Do not try to clutter too much information in a single graphic. Keep it simple, informative, and interactive.
Here are some best practices to follow:
- Every time you create a report or a dashboard, have clear answers to these questions:
– What am I trying to say?
– Will my audience understand it easily?
– Is each element of my report conveying the right story?
- Define the KPIs and goals clearly. Ensure that your audience is able to map their performance to the relevant KPIs with ease.
- Split complex data sets into smaller chunks while creating visualizations. Do not try to bundle everything together.
- While showcasing correlations, ensure that one item does not detract the other. Create the charts in such a way that the story flows from one data point to the other seamlessly and presents a holistic picture to the viewer.
- Engage the users with interactive charts and graphs and let them dig deeper into details at their own pace.
- Do not repeat visual elements. Maintain a right balance of tables, text, and charts to convey the insights.