Adventures in Visualand: Data visualization today (Episode 2)

The neuroscience of data visualization

A data visualization contains content. Its purpose is to communicate that content. A visualization is not memorable unless its content is memorable.
— Stephen Few, PerceptualEdge.org

Someone may want their visual dashboard to grab so much attention in the company that it reaches the boardroom. To be so memorable that the team constantly refers to it when talking about data patterns and trends. To be so easy to understand that it leads straight to business decisions.

These are three important purposes that a business dashboard has when considering its visual design. In the age of speed, business users usually sacrifice some of these for other needs, thinking that they cannot all be met at the same time.

Indeed, in different situations, the predominant reason for creating a visual dashboard may differ and you need to choose the right purpose for your dashboard to become valuable in the short-term.

Unbelievable! vs. the Let’s Do It!

However, in human cognition, attention, memorability and understanding are intertwined. When done well, a visual dashboard lets the eye take in a narrative that is also catchy, aesthetically pleasing, and thought-provoking. When done well, data visualization fulfills all these three attributes.

Read all the episodes:

Episode 1

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Episode 7