Picture This: The Importance of Data Visualization

As a leading Internet marketing firm, SonicSEO.com knows how to get your website to rank well with the search engines. But for lasting performance and better conversion, you need to do more than impress the search engines—you need to deliver the information that your real-live, human audience is looking for. Data visualization is one way to do that.

What Is Data Visualization?

Data visualization is the representation of data in an image that is pleasing to the eye and easy to understand. (Think “infographic.”)

Rather than provide paragraph-long descriptions, lists, columns, tables or charts that evoke the “snooze factor,” data visualization makes your numbers pop!

What Good Does Data Visualization Do?

Data visualization does two things:

  1. It increases interest in and comprehension of your data.

It’s easy to get lost in numbers; in fact, many people fear them. But people like pictures. When you can turn this:

                      Into this:





you get a lot more people interested in the story of your nonprofit, your startup, your product’s performance, etc.

  1. It increases users’ time on page…and that correlates to higher conversion rates.

People will invest their time to more carefully examine stuff that interests them, and that’s usually pictures. Statistically, the more time a user spends on your website, the more likely they are to stay on your site—either to explore other pages or to actually complete the sales process or take the next step (like fill out the contact form or call your office).

Data visualization also promotes shares on your social media platforms. That can help get your brand out to more prospective clients that are not currently in your reach.

Why Data Visualization Works

The effectiveness of data visualization is not simply the result of a preference for pictures over text. Rather, it is effective because (when done well), images allow for more immediate comprehension of data because it makes relationships between data points more evident. In other words, data visualization allows a viewer to compare/contrast and/or spatially locate information at a glance.

In addition to cognitive processing, data visualization also allows the presenter (i.e. you/your website) to add a layer of tone to your data. You can “color” how viewers perceive the data by selecting a graphical representation that inspires a certain emotional response.

As an example, imagine the difference in effect of presenting data about deforestation graphically represented as an………..

upright tree vs. a falling tree.





The upright tree suggests health and vitality of the tree, which can mask the dismal story that the actual numbers tell. The falling tree, on the other hand, helps viewers to more fully understand the significance of the numbers.

By contrast, think about depicting how much solar energy could be generated by installing an array on your business’ roof. You could use a single battery to represent your business’ energy needs with a colored band to show how much of that could be generated with solar power. Or, you could represent how many light bulbs or computers could be powered for an entire month with the solar energy collected. So, you may have this:
                                                          Or this:




The battery spatially limits solar power potential, and by doing so, limits viewers’ ability to see how it affects their lives. The image of many computers, however, lets viewers see how many things can be powered by solar. They can connect on a more personal level, like, “Oh, wow, that’s as many workstations as we have in my entire department. Solar power could power my entire department for a month!”

If you have questions about how to use data visualization on your website or blog, contact us.