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Data visualization is more than just presenting numbers and figures – it’s about telling a story through data. Just like a painter uses brushstrokes to create a visual narrative, a data visualization designer uses charts, graphs, and other tools to tell a story through data. Here are a few ways to incorporate the art of storytelling into your data visualization:

  1. Start with a clear message: Just like any good story, your data visualization should have a clear message or theme that you want to communicate. This will help to guide your design and ensure that your visualization stays focused and on-topic.
  2. Use a structure: A good story has a clear beginning, middle, and end, and your data visualization should follow the same structure. Start by introducing your topic and setting the stage, then present the data and highlight key points, and end with a conclusion or call to action.
  3. Incorporate elements of drama: A little bit of drama can go a long way in making your data visualization more engaging and memorable. This can be as simple as using eye-catching graphics or unexpected data points to grab the viewer’s attention and keep them invested in the story.
  4. Use metaphors and analogies: Metaphors and analogies can be a powerful way to help your audience understand and relate to the data. By comparing your data to something familiar, you can make it easier for the viewer to understand and remember.
  5. Tell a human story: Data is often abstract and impersonal, but by incorporating human stories and anecdotes into your data visualization, you can make it more relatable and engaging. This can help to bring the data to life and make it more meaningful to the viewer.

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Telling a human story will enable end users who are not connected to your development or design a path to understanding and interpreting your data story. Try opening your data visualizations and dashboards prior to talking to your audience and explore different ways you can talk through using features, while telling a story, to connect to the audience with more than charts!

By Tyler Garrett

In conclusion, the art of storytelling is an important aspect of data visualization. By using a clear structure, incorporating elements of drama, using metaphors and analogies, and telling a human story, you can create visualizations that are both effective and memorable. So next time you have data to present, think about the story you want to tell and how you can use visualization to bring it to life.