Data and Visual Storytelling: The Skillset of The Future

data and design

“This article was originally posted on LinkedIn: Data and Visual Storytelling: The Skillset of The Future

Hey there! I’m Lachezar Arabadzhiev, Founder and CEO of SkildLabs and a Udemy Instructor Partner. Last month, I shared how my online teaching journey began. Today, let me tell you the rest of the story and introduce you to data and visual storytelling! 😊

On the Udemy platform and earlier in my career in digital marketing and advertising, I was always known as the go-to “data and analytics guy.” While that title plays to my strengths, it only speaks to a portion of my passion, visual storytelling.

You see, data is essential, but data by itself is meaningless. It’s what we do with data and how we choose to present it to our audience that matters most. As a visual storyteller, I am passionate about combining data and design in compelling ways that drive impact.

Why is Data Storytelling so Important?

In the age of big data, we are constantly bombarded with information from all sides. The challenge lies in not only making sense of this data but also using it to tell a story that inspires and resonates with our audience. In this era of data-driven decision-making, the ability to sift through data and tell an informative and visually appealing story has become a critical skill. 

Having created my business around the power of visual storytelling, I’m on a mission to empower others to tell their data-driven stories and make an impact in their respective fields. Whether they’re in marketing, analytics, sales, or design, anyone can become a data-driven decision-maker and a better visual communicator.

Understanding The Power of Visual Storytelling in the Workplace

There was a time when data was reserved for data scientists and analysts, but it has since transformed into a tool that anyone in any field can use to their advantage. For example, data storytelling can be a powerful business tool for marketers, which I discuss in great detail throughout my Udemy course: Google BigQuery for Marketers and Agencies.

data storytelling with google bigquery

Regardless of your role or industry, data storytelling is a powerful tool that can be used to:

  • Improve data-driven decision-making.
  • Increase the effectiveness of your collaboration.
  • Facilitate better communication among team members and departments.
  • Make data more accessible and understandable.
  • Improve confidence when presenting data.

As we learn to become better data storytellers, the first thing we need to understand is that data and design are not mutually exclusive. How you choose to present your data will have a profound impact on how your audience perceives it.

Data and Design: The Unapparent Pair

Data visualization can take on many forms, from bar charts and line graphs to heat maps and infographics. The most important thing to remember is that these should be used to complement your data-driven story, not replace it.

In my experience, data visualization and storytelling are often underestimated and seen as a “nice to have” rather than a necessity. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The design element of visual storytelling isn’t about making things look pretty; it’s about choosing the right visuals to effectively communicate your data-driven story.

In any occupation, you may have all the necessary data in front of you and still lack the ability to visualize the “big picture.” Visual storytelling allows you to use your data to tell a story that helps you identify trends, actionable insights, or concerns.

When presenting data to others, too much information can confuse them, causing them to lose sight of the main takeaways or even make poor decisions. It’s important to keep them engaged by only providing them with the most relevant information. Visual storytelling can help you do just that by allowing you to focus on the most critical data points in a way that is easy to understand and visually appealing.

Data storytelling is a powerful tool that can help you:

  • Make data more digestible and easier for others to understand.
  • Tell a story that engages your audience and captures their attention.
  • Highlight key takeaways and action items.

The key to visual storytelling is understanding how to use data and compelling visuals to create a cohesive narrative. For an in-depth guide on how to build powerful data visualizations, check out my Udemy course on the subject: Dynamic Dashboards and Data Analysis with Data Studio.

data storytelling with google data studiov

Garbage In, Garbage Out: Filtering Your Data Through Visual Storytelling

The data you choose to include in your story is just as important as how you present it. If you try to collect and analyze every piece of data available, you’ll likely have more questions than answers.

Before you can even begin to work on your visual storytelling, you need to understand what data is most important to your story. Therefore, sourcing and organizing your data and interviewing the appropriate subjects are all crucial in order to produce a consistent and accurate narrative.

Using built-in automation tools and robust dashboards can make the data analysis and organization process much easier and allow you to focus only on the data that is most important to your story. You can learn to do this with ease through my Udemy course: Introduction to Supermetrics for Data Automation.

data storytelling with supermetrics

The Road to Becoming a Visual Storyteller

The future of work is data-driven, and the ability to tell a story with data will be an essential skill in the years ahead. If you’re not already comfortable with data visualization and data storytelling, now is the time to step out of your comfort zone and learn these skills.

As a visual storyteller, you’ll have the unique ability to see data in a way that others may not. You can use your data and design skills to create stories that engage and inform your audience.

If you’re interested in learning more about data visualization and data storytelling, check out my Udemy courses. I also invite you to visit my personal data and design blog, where I share tips and tricks on how to effectively analyze your data and use it to tell your own data-driven stories.

As a former “numbers guy” turned visual storyteller, I wish you the best of luck on your visual storytelling journey!

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