All companies generate data based on how their customers interact with them on their websites as well as the purchases they make from traditional stores. It is important that this data is viewed and analysed in the right way so that future decisions pertaining to products and services can be taken based on what the customer is looking for. For this, the best way to do it is via analytical dashboards and data visualizations.

While data visualization can be very effective in presenting data, there are many reasons why they sometimes fail in achieving their goal. Below are ten reasons why that happens and what can be done to optimize data visualizations.

  • To optimize dashboards, the analyst needs to first understand the data that is being presented. If the interpretation of the data by the analyst is incorrect, then the resulting dashboard that is created may provide misinformation that could harm the company if it takes decisions based on what has been shown.
  • When making a data visualization, it is imperative that it should be tailored to the needs of the audience. More importantly, the data also needs to be presented such that it is self-explainable. If the visualization is complex or if it doesn’t help in taking the necessary decisions or serve the business purpose, then all the effort that went into making it would be for nought.
  • Different types of data are better viewed in different kinds of charts. For example, if you want to illustrate proportion of sales from different business units, then a pie chart would do the trick rather than a bar chart. Therefore, one needs to pick the right tool to present the data and avoid presenting it in a haphazard manner.
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  • Simply presenting the data itself would not be of much help. The data visualization also needs to identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) as well so that the audience perusing the charts will have the right perspective when figuring out which area of their business needs to be improved.
  • It is imperative that multiple users are involved when creating the dashboard. When a single user is responsible for making the data visualization, there is always a chance that some perspective or idea gets overlooked and the chance to derive the most out of the data would be lost. Making it a collaborative effort gives the best results.
  • Ideally, the number of visuals on the dashboard should be limited to a minimum, but sometimes the data demands there be more charts than is normal. While creating such data visualizations, it is necessary to make sure that the images are not all cluttered up. Enough spacing should be given between charts to ensure that the audience does not get confused with the deluge of data that is present.
  • Many a times, specific colour palettes are asked to be used in the marketing dashboards. However, if there are too many colours in the visualization, then the end user will have trouble connecting with the various graphs. The general thumb rule is to use not more than three to four colours in the dashboard.
  • After the charts and graphs have been created for the dashboard, it is also important to make sure that they are arranged in a way that makes it a visual treat. For example, when arranging graphs, it is important to make sure that those with same resemblance are not placed near each other as that could confuse the user. It is also necessary to name each graph and chart properly with the correct naming convention so that the user knows exactly what they are looking at.
  • To optimize data visualizations, the most practical thing to do would be to engage the end users as well to determine what they need from the dashboard. This way, any visualization that has been generated will not go to waste just because that was not what the audience had wanted in the first place.
  • Dashboards need to be designed such that they can be updated with new information or changes can be made for any new KPIs that may have been decided. If the dashboard is not created with that in mind, then it becomes hardcoded data and may not be reusable in the future.

If the above precautionary measures are taken while creating the dashboards, then they will be most effective in achieving their purpose and not go to waste.