9: FIVE CREATIVE DATA VISUALIZATION IDEAS FOR YOUR NEXT PRESENTATION
There is nothing more boring for your audience than watching the same old bar charts, column charts and pie charts slide after slide. If you want to emphasize a specific point or want to ensure that your audience remembers the statistics, the best way to do it is to present it creatively.
Here are 5 creative ways to present your numbers, to make everyone in your audience relate to your presentation.
Use simple images
Take a look at this slide:
The image of a wine glass is a useful cue to capture the increase in market share of the new wine brand. This representation is any day more interesting than a lifeless column chart.
Do you think it’s time consuming to use images to serve as charts? No. See how simple it is to use this technique:
We searched for a public domain image of a wine glass. We got these two images (the one on the right was in black color. We went to Format -> Recolor option in PowerPoint and changed the color to Red). Then, all we had to do was to put the red silhouette over the transparent image and crop it to the size we wanted.
We wrote the relevant percentages and the years against the images. Voila! The new column chart was ready.
Use simple scalable metaphors
Take a look at this slide:
We found that a good metaphor for the growth in branches is – a plant. So, we showed the increase in branches by increasing the number of leaves in the plant.
Think it is tough to make such images?
See the way we achieved this:
We found public domain images for a leaf and a pot. We drew a curved line using the ‘curve’ tool in PowerPoint. We created a shadow by filling an ellipse shape with gradient. Now, all that was left to do was to place the appropriate number of leaves next to the curved line. Of course, we resized the leaves on the top, so they looked smaller compared to the leaves at the bottom.
Use the popular ‘Copy-paste’ method
When you don’t feel like doing all the hard work, and yet want to use metaphors to represent your data – here is an option:
We used the metaphor of rabbit to show multiplication in revenues.
We searched for a silhouette of rabbit from public domain. Then we pasted it multiple times to show the growth. By writing the exact numerical value, we gave credibility to the representation.
You can convey a lot just by resizing the proportions of an image. See this slide for example:
All we did was to resize an image in various proportions to match the numerical data we wanted to represent. Note that the title of the slide clearly mentions the conclusion from the slide, to help the audience understand the data. Note that the image used needs to be relevant to the industry or point being made.
Use meaningful icons
Icons have the power to convey a lot of information without attracting undue attention. See the slide below:
The same information could have been said using a pie chart. But, that would not have been as interesting and memorable as this.
By the way, we made the reading man disappear by placing a white rectangle (with no border) on the image.
There are a few things to remember:
- Write the actual values clearly: Whenever you use images or metaphors to represent data, make sure that you write the relevant numbers right next to them. Otherwise, audience may find your depiction less believable than a column chart or pie chart (Unfortunately, we are conditioned that way).
- Use the pictorial method occasionally: Use this pictorial method only to break the monotony and focus your audience on important information. This should not be a standard way to represent numbers. All said and done, charts and graphs of a spreadsheet are definitely more accurate and easier to create.
- Don’t use this for data that will be compared: If you are presenting team performance that will be compared by your audience to other teams, then use the standard charts, graphs and tables.
Summary of the 5 ways to present data creatively:
So, here are 5 ways to present data creatively:
- Use simple images
- Use simple scalable metaphors
- Use the famous ‘Copy-Paste’ method
- Use proportions
- Use meaningful icons
These were just a few pointers to set you thinking in the right direction. We are sure you can come up with a lot of options of your own.