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How to Choose the Right Format for Data Visualization

GraphsModern software gives you access to many different data visualization formats. It can be confusing to know whether you should choose between a wealth of options like Heat Maps, bubble clouds, or even various types of graphs.

Fortunately, there’s a relatively easy way to understand exactly which format you should choose to deliver the most value to your organization.


Ask the people who will use it, including the leaders that you are working with. Ask how they would like to see the information, what they feel will be most useful to them.

After all, a data visualization is only useful insofar as it helps users understand the insights that are being offered by that data. So your choices should depend upon the context of the question.

You also need to ask yourself a question. Which format do you think will get you and your users to the answer you’re seeking?

Anyone can create wonderfully elegant graphs. But those graphs are just not very impressive if they don’t answer the question that you were asking in the first place. So pursue the format that gets you to those answers.

Data analytics and predictive modeling are more art than science for this reason alone. It takes some creativity and some decision making to make these kinds of assessments.

This question is also a good demonstration of all of the reasons why strategy is the most important element of a successful data analytics project. If you don’t have an initial assessment to work from, something that gives you a truly good understanding of the problem at hand, then it would be easy to make some incorrect assumptions and some bad decisions that ultimately don’t serve you or your organization.

If you want the tools to help you build working strategies for your organization, try TMA’s predictive analytics training courses. You’ll get the foundations that you need to start solving real problems for your business. Want to see how this training works? Start with The Modeling Agency’s free webinar: Data Mining, Failure to Launch. You can register right now.

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