Creating an eye-candy piece of content. What can big data visualization show to your customers and others?
Almost any company accumulates a huge amount of data of all kinds within a few months of operation. Here's a simple example (maybe it will inspire someone to keep track of all these indicators!). A small company of five employees that produces wooden furniture can generate the following data:
- names of employees,
- types of furniture,
- volume of raw materials,
- time required to produce one piece of furniture,
- time for breaks.
Big business has a much larger number of indicators than in this fictional example — and it's even more enjoyable!
Many managers, if they track such indicators, limit themselves to collecting them in a dashboard and making management decisions based on them. Unfortunately, there is no place for infographics based on such data in the communications content plans.
We will show you some inspiring examples of big data visualization from different fields and authors to explain the potential of using it for various purposes.
But first, we need to understand what big data is and why we need to visualize big data.
The difference between data and big data
According to Oracle, big data is a set of data that is too large to be analyzed using conventional methods, arrives very quickly, and has a large number of variables.
That is, information on monthly sales volume in each store is not big data but ordinary data because there are no particular problems in processing it. But when we take data for several years from all stores, broken down by store, product, and time of day, it's big data.
Big data visualizations don't have to be highly informative
Often, people complain about such visualizations: they are difficult to read and do not make the message informative. And this is a fair point. Our examples include such visualizations as well. But sometimes, such visualizations are made for another purpose — to impress and show the scale, which can justify less informative content.
9 examples of big data visualization and why to do it
To make an industry report
For example, this infographic shows the 100 largest companies on the London Stock Exchange.
If you haven't made infographic reports yet, maybe it's time to give them a try? You can use them to communicate with clients, partners, investors, and during business presentations.
Or another example is all investments in China since 2005. To see the full version, please follow the link.
To show the results of research and investigations
Journalists mainly use such visualizations to explain the results of their investigations. Still, there is no reason why a company could not visualize the results of an audit, employee testing, staff training, etc.
The first example is our work for THE WORLD DATA VISUALIZATION PRIZE. We used ten indicators for 60 countries to show how the level of human development in different countries is related to education spending, GDP growth, inequality in society, and other vital indicators in education, economy, and health.
If your company needs to show something very complex straightforwardly and visually, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let's see how we can help you.
This wall calendar reminds us of the terrible number of victims of the coronavirus epidemic. It shows data on the total number of people who fell ill and died, mortality by country, and the number of people who fell ill and were tested by country.
If your content strategy includes educational content, why not use big data to prepare it? For example, you can show information related to manufacturing.
Or you can use big data to create educational content for employees. Such content can be related to their work, or it can be on an entirely different topic related to expanding their knowledge of the world. We found a fantastic example of how to visualize Dante's Divine Comedy. This is an interactive website that shows all the paintings based on the Divine Comedy. They are sorted by the section of the Divine Comedy they relate to. The narrator also reads Dante's text describing the scene shown.
This is one of the most creative ways we've seen to work with big data. Although there are almost no numbers in this visualization (only years), the authors had to work with a huge amount of data to create it. It was prepared for the Items: Is Fashion Modern? exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibition featured 111 items of clothing and accessories that have influenced the world in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The authors of the visualization studied every object in the exhibition and characterized each one in an infographic that takes up several walls:
Is this object important because of its intrinsic properties or because it carries a message?
Is it worn to imitate others or to stand out from the crowd?
Did it cause cultural or social changes, or is it the result of such changes?
The history and essence of each object in the exhibition are encoded in colors and geometric shapes.
To demonstrate a view of the problem, convey socially important information
It has been convincingly proven that customers appreciate when a business demonstrates its position on social issues. No one is surprised by a CSR report anymore. Big data visualization is another way to show a position on important, sensitive issues and draw attention to the problem. Although nowadays it is also more of a journalistic rather than a corporate way to talk about such topics, companies should use it more actively because such communication is visually striking, memorable, and evokes strong associations with the brand.
Here's a great example of a study on the wage gap between women and men that could be done in partnership with a company.
To make and explain socially important decisions
This video, made during the COVID-19 epidemic and based on impersonal data from mobile phones, proves the importance of social distance — it shows how people from a small but crowded location, one beach in Florida, travel across the United States. People that y can carry the virus.
To create a piece of art
In July 2016, the whole world started catching Pokemons in Pokemon Go. And publish videos about it on YouTube. What would happen if you uploaded information about all (!) of these videos (title, link to it, and links between videos) and showed how they are connected? You'll get a picture in the shape of a Pokéball!
So once again, this is a real picture that can be hung on the wall. But it is drawn based on big data from almost 32,000 videos.
Such visualizations, in addition to the work of a designer, require professional analytical work, so if you are interested in our examples and are already thinking about how to incorporate big data into your content plan, ask for help from a professional analyst if your company has one, or a company that can do the analytical work for you.
At Top Lead, we have experts who can analyze large amounts of data and prepare visualizations based on it. Contact us and we will think about how we can help you.