Would it help if you wrote a report, but no one found it interesting or did not want to read it? Doubtful! It is therefore imperative to know about useful data visualizations when creating reports.

Visualizing data is a powerful tool for qualitative reporting. Visual elements, such as graphics, not only make reports more interesting, but also break up the monotony of long text pages. This makes the data easier to understand and easier to remember. The trick is to get it right.

Know the basics

It is critical to verify the accuracy of your data before creating the graphics for your report; a report with incorrect data will lead to incorrect conclusions. To create data visualization for a report, you should follow these three guidelines:

  • Consider your goals when selecting graphics
  • Select graphics whose messages relate to the audience
  • Pick the most appropriate design for the graphic

Also pertinent to consider:

  • Data analytics is the process of creating and analyzing raw and unused data to generate useful information. These reports show metrics, analysis, and conclusions graphically. Having real-time data makes it easier for everyone in the organization to make data-driven decisions.
  • Historically, IT professionals spent a huge amount of time analyzing, formatting, and representing data for data pull requests. The advent of real-time, cloud-based reporting, however, has completely changed the reporting landscape. Modern data visualization tools enable collaboration between subject matter experts.
  • Business data reports cover a wide variety of topics and contain information about different functions within the organization. Their content, length, format, and presentation vary. Be sure to identify the types of data that your organization uses.

You will not achieve the results you desire if the message is correct, but the presentation is dull, or if the insights are flawed.

Make the right graph choice

Viewers will get confused if the graph type is incorrect. Thus, it is crucial to understand the data you are intending to visualize and its purpose. Do you intend to contrast data points? Is the data used to illustrate how something works? To help you get started, consider the following chart types:

Sankey diagram: illustrating a system’s flow

Line chart: comparing changes between data sets

Bar chart: comparing several data sets

Pie chart: displaying the shares of different components in the data set

Histogram: depicting the distribution of data sets over a certain time period

Bubble chart: comparing two parameters with a third

5-Point Likert scale: analysis of survey responses

Use visuals correctly

Choosing the right message is another significant aspect of making data visualizations useful for research. Data found in your report should be familiar to readers. In addition, you want to ensure that the parameters you plan to visualize can be combined.

Scale and scope must be considered as well. As an example, many viewers are accustomed to reading the measurements from either the bottom or left of the axes. Switching this direction may confuse the audience.

Compelling and simple

Charts are easier to understand when they are simpler. Adding extra elements, colors, structures, etc., to a standard report is not necessary. It is recommended that no more than three charts are used per page. 

The right visualization tool

The market is full of data visualization tools. Many of these tools can be accessed online, while others must be installed on the desktop; while some tools are free to use, others require payment. Visualization tools that are tailored to your needs and create meaningful insights are the most effective ones. Popular tools include Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Zoho Analytics, and Looker.

Final thoughts

The methods discussed can help visualize data, create engaging reports, and effectively communicate key findings. Reports containing valuable information and compelling visuals are appealing to both your internal team and readers outside the company. A high-quality report starts with creating a visually appealing and useful data visualization. Data visualization solutions and tools can help you produce visuals with the greatest impact. With these tools, you can build the most insightful visuals for a broad variety of company reports with ease.