The importance of User Centred Data Visualisation

Cem Baris 21.11.2017

Big Data LDN returned this November with a bigger and more action packed event at Olympia.

The importance of User Centred Data Visualisation

Helping to pinpoint your focus

The various speakers, case studies and new tools on display provided a wealth of knowledge to delegates from all sorts of data backgrounds, helping them to develop effective and data-driven strategies. The key themes this year covered fast data, machine learning & AI, self service analytics and data driven LDN - focusing on how to build a successful ‘data culture’ within your business.

Morgan McKinley, as part of our ongoing support of London Business Analytics Group, hosted one of the numerous talks at the event: an engaging exploration of user centred data visualisation delivered by Emma Cosh. Emma is an analytics and data visualisation consultant with a background in operational research and statistics, working at Tesco and American Express as head of visualisation centre of excellence and senior insight manager respectively.

Beautiful data for the world

The crux of user centred data visualisation is to make data design understandable. We all know that data is important, but we are all too frequently presented with an overwhelming list of figures that often isn’t easy to make sense of, let alone be used to drive decisions. In short, data is not displayed well. Big Data London

Well presented data can amplify the cognitive abilities of stakeholders. By using those invaluable figures in an easy to understand way, it will help teams to know where is best to focus their attention. With this insight being based on data, there is proof behind any actions that are taken as a consequence. As Emma excellently put it: “visualised data can help your business chase the big red balls...” - in other words, you’ll point the stakeholders and key decision makers exactly to where changes need to be made.

Generating feelings through your data

Once in the habit of setting figures in a more palpable manner, you have the ability to make people feel things through the data. This is important because humans often make decisions as fast as possible, unless you give them a reason otherwise. With visualised data, you can make whoever sees it feel either good or bad; these feelings will make them consider their decisions rather than going for the easiest or fastest option. Contextual data that shows your processes are working and you are doing well can also act as useful ammunition for meetings.

Transforming your internal data visualisations will help you develop a framework and reveal beneficial design tips that could revolutionise the way your company performs.

Listen, learn, improve

User experience is often not given the attention it deserves. Some of the most beneficial and progressive adjustments come from listening and asking questions, allowing you to locate and solve the problems your users have and not (what a lot of people do) the ones you think they have.

Find out what engages people, determine what causes issues and try to figure out why they want this. By establishing what users need, you gain insight into what they want to know and how they’re going to use it. With this information, all decisions can be made with an assertive, data driven force behind them.

When you are attempting to secure the best possible user experience, it is vital that you carry out test after test. You’re not going to get it right first time, and even after you think you’ve got it nailed, keep testing. This constant usability testing helps realise any room for improvement.

Make the most of your available data

Your company will have collated plenty of data for a whole range of purposes over the years, if visualised in an easy to understand way, you can harness that data to present what makes your target audience tick. With this knowledge, you can get the most out of the valuable information that’s been extracted.

Data visualisation aids in the processes of solving problems, can reduce time rectifying errors and ultimately can save money - that’s something that key stakeholders will definitely pay attention to.

If you want to attend more informational data talks, keep an eye out for our upcoming Meetup events. Over the next month you can hear about:

Cem Baris's picture
Director
cbaris@morganmckinley.co.uk