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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

Do Your Data Visualizations Lead to Action?

In a recent "Ten Mistakes to Avoid" report, author Stan Pugsley explains ten ways visualization authors can go wrong. This excerpt from the report explains one such mistake.

Mistake #8: Visualizations are not organized to lead to action

For Further Reading:

Ten Mistakes to Avoid in Data Visualization (Available to TDWI Members)

The Story Beyond the Visual

How to Cut Data Preparation Time for Visualization Tools

The visualizations you create should not just point out a problem. They should be designed to lead to action. If we build visualizations based only on a list of business requirements, those stakeholders defining the report requirements will assume that the action is known to future users. They give requirements assuming the users will be themselves!

A strategic visualization chain should walk users down a path from initial insight to final action. It should not assume that users have long institutional knowledge to know intuitively what to do with the insights from data.

In our case study, we could create an inventory dashboard specifically designed to show the alternatives to deal with excess or low inventory. The KPIs on the dashboard would show the relationship between supply and demand and give information needed to address the imbalances.

Action item: Review your dashboard to identify any dead-end points not linked to related business actions.

About the Author

Stan Pugsley is a data warehouse and analytics consultant with Eide Bailly Technology Consulting based in Salt Lake City, UT. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Utah Eccles School of Business. You can reach the author via email.


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