Not long ago, the ability to create smart data visualizations, or dataviz, was a nice-to-have skill. For the most part, it benefited design- and data-minded managers who made a deliberate decision to invest in acquiring it. That’s changed. Now visual communication is a must-have skill for all managers, because more and more often, it’s the only way to make sense of the work they do.
Data is the primary force behind this shift. Decision making increasingly relies on data, which comes at us with such overwhelming velocity, and in such volume, that we can’t comprehend it without some layer of abstraction, such as a visual one.
But even information that’s not statistical demands visual expression. Complex systems—business process workflows, for example, or the way customers move through a store—are hard to understand, much less fix, if you can’t first see them.
The typology described in this article by Scott Berinato is simple. By answering just two questions, you can set yourself up to succeed.
Is the information conceptual or data-driven?
If the first question identifies what you have, the second elicits what you’re doing: either communicating information (declarative) or trying to figure something out (exploratory).