It’s finally done. You’ve spent months and months preparing for data collection…. then collecting the actual data at your event… then managing all the data you’ve collected… then analyzing it. You have honed in on all the numbers, percents, and other statistics and are finally ready to begin reporting out for an upcoming meeting with various stakeholders. As you sitdown to prepare your report, you think, “What is the best way to translate all of this information into something meaningful and appealing to this group?”This is where data visualization comes in.

Data visualization, at its most basic level, refers to the process of creating visual representations of the data that has been collected. Think: charts, graphs, and other visual imagery that could go along with turning your data into an impactful story. In an ideal world, individuals and organizations would always be able to outsource this work to a professional trained in the field; however, hiring a design agency can be cost prohibitive. While there is no real replacement for being able to do this, understanding the importance of data visualization and searching for resources on the basics can create valuable foundational awareness on the topic.

Basic data visualization training ensures that your key highlights and message(s) are easily and clearly understood by helping you think through and identify the most logical format for data presentation. This process also gives you a chance to make sure that your data presentation is not misleading in nature. Basic data visualization knowledge can help you walk through a number of different scenarios. For example, depending on your data, is a bar chart or a pie chart the better choice? When should you use a scatterplot? Does color matter?

To meet this need (and answer these questions!), Visage and Hubspot have created free Data Visualization 101 resources for the public. Their guide provides valuable information to keep in mind when reporting out your data by walking users through the basics of data visualization. Familiarizing yourself with these basic concepts can help you create a meaningful report, PowerPoint deck, or one-pager for your next meeting. In addition, make sure to check out the Data Analysis Resources section of our website for additional information to assist you during the reporting phase of your data analysis process.