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Package Data Like You Mean It

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Does the way you visualize data really change how people interpret it? Let’s test out a few scenarios.
Here the most basic (read: boring) way we present data, the table.

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There are pros to this method: the table contains A LOT of details. But how easy is it to see the trends or pull out the main point? Not very easy. Is there a way to make the data more understandable? Let’s try a chart!


Here we focused on the self-sufficiency wages.

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Yes, that helps- we can now easily see the trend across the counties and the relative difference between each. This is the most basic bar chart that Excel creates and I’m sure we’ve all used it before. However, it is time to upgrade, folks. Take a look at what you can do with just Microsoft Office to improve the ease of interpretation.

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In the updated bar chart we have applied our branding, cleaned up the unnecessary lines, added an informative and color coded title, put the labels inside the bars, and added a reference point. But even with the more visually appealing bar chart, readers may not feel connected with the data.

If you really want to take your data to the next level, consider an infographic. While this may be beyond the skill set of your in-house team, if the data are intended to be shared widely it is worth the extra effort of working with a designer. They can transform your numbers into an infographic that really makes an impact and sticks with people. Take a look the data now.

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How can you turn your data into a powerful message? Tweet examples to @ThoughtwellData.

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