Communication in its simplest form is the transference of information or data. For over 30,000 years, humans have been communicating with each other. The use of written language has only been used for 3,700 years. This means that written text only contributes for 10% of the total time humans have been communicating. For those remaining 90% of the time humans would communicate using audible or visual forms. This has resulted in the human brain getting accustomed to visual information. This is further proven with the fact that 90% of the information sent to be the brain is visual. Humans can process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Humans can process visual information faster because we are able to view multiple images at the same time. Whereas text can be read a few symbols or characters at a time. When displaying data, it is important to have visual information to help others better understand it.
One of the primary visual aids for information is colour. Studies have shown that the colour red can slightly raise a person’s heart rate and that the colour blue can reduced a person’s impulsivity. Colours can have a direct effect on human biology and psychology. Colour can be used to improved memory retention, pattern recognition and focus maintenance. These points show that colour is a strong tool when trying to convey visual data. From a business perspective colour is used to make your brain trigger associations. This helps to quickly find data. This is demonstrated when people receive information in different colours. People would associate orange with safety points, red to show danger or loss and blue to show people or location. Different shades of the same colours can also have associations, with deep green showing growth or profit and light green showing environmental factors. The way colour is used in data can help people find and understand the information faster.
Another factor that helps with data visualisation is in how the data is displayed. This can be in the form of graphs and charts. Businesses have many uses for graphs and charts to help show data, but only certain data work with certain charts or graphs. The three most popular charts are Column/bar, line, and Pie charts. Column/bar charts lends itself well as a comparison tool. It is easy to see which item's column or bar is taller or longer, making visual comparison seamless. Using a line graph is best suited for data that is continuous in nature because the connecting lines show changes over a time period. An example would the change in temperature in a month. Pie charts split the data into slices with each slice representing one group of data. This shows parts-to-whole relationship for categoric or nominal data. Using these three types of visual aids, we can transform large amount of text data into easy visual data.
Communicating visually has been beneficial when dealing with a large amount of data, it’s part of human nature. This is due to humans being able to understand and process visual data faster than text data. By using colours and graph this data can be more understandable. Both these features are in the new Dashboard Module of iOM Analytics. Dashboard takes the large data reports from Analytics and coverts it into manageable visual data, that can help save time and improve data efficiency.