Toronto, ON – Unilytics, a Toronto based Tableau partner has been providing Tableau training at all levels as well as consulting services for over 6 years and has built upwards of 1200 Tableau dashboards!

People need stats, but they prefer stories.

Collecting and sorting through data is one thing – but how can we optimize the value of our data? Spreadsheets and charts can be used to interpret and showcase data points, but how effective are they at getting the point across to the end user? Studies have shown that simply displaying data points isn’t enough to hold an audience’s interest long enough to retain the important information. This is where we need a new, more effective way to display and showcase our data.

Enter: Data Storytelling

Data storytelling revolves around humanizing the data and making it more relatable. By doing this, we can increase audience attention and retention of the data. It helps to allow people to understand the data better, process it, and most importantly – extract value from it. The visualization and communication that data storytelling can convey optimizes the usefulness of the data, allowing companies to get the best ROI on their research and analytics dollars.

As we move forward into a more data-driven market, the need for good data storytellers is going to be paramount for large companies to succeed. Business analytics insights are crucial for management to make the best possible decisions for their companies, so the more effective the data storyteller, the more useful the data is to the company. If the data storytellers can’t make their points compelling and ensure that they are being understood, no one will act on the data and nothing will change with the company, leading to missed opportunities and wasted resources.

Why data storytelling is essential

Throughout human history, storytelling has been a one of the most prolific ways in which we have communicated. Long fables like Beowulf and Grendel were never written down until recent times – they used to be only oratory and told as stories. People were able to remember the important parts of the stories because of how compelling the storytellers were. Without good storytellers, the tales would have fallen on deaf ears.

The same goes for modern data points

For some people, crafting a story around data may seem like a waste of time. We must remember though, that not everyone has a mathematical mind. For some, they can look at numbers and data points and immediately understand, but this is generally rare. For most people, we need to have an extra step to really understand the gravitas behind the data points, to know what they mean, and what to do with them.

When you turn your data insights into stories, you can help open communication from analysts to managers that help to make the data much more meaningful. The data can be made to make more sense in this way, which leads to an increase in the following key points of understanding.

• Engagement: By making the data more relatable, you can help to increase audience engagement and understanding.
• Persuasiveness: Data storytelling helps to get the main point of the data across to the audience. By making them understand the insights better, they can more easily visualize the changes that need to be made.
• Memorability: Once someone understands the importance and message behind the data, they can more easily remember the insights and why they are important.

Even incredible insights will suffer a dismal fate if they are not successfully crafted into data stories. Being able to gather and quantify data is an essential skill but being able to convey that data in a way that ensures the end users completely understand it and make the best decisions is something that is equally important. What good is data if it isn’t being used properly? Data storytelling helps to bridge the gap between the quantified data and the qualitative insights drawn from it.

Data Visualization and Data Storytelling

Modern data visualization tools make data storytelling easier and more effective. Tableau’s Story Points feature provides a framework to guide you through data visualizations revealing the information you need to make smart decisions and take action. Forbes magazine refers to data storytelling as the “last mile skills that help convert insights into actions”.
Tableau Story points allow you to share additional data and information on a graph or chart to help illustrate the point, effectively aiding in the “storytelling”. Take the graph below for example, you can see numerous informative points along the graph line that explain the data being displayed. At significant points in the chart, including the peaks and nulls, the graph provides the information necessary to explain the data – instead of just displaying the raw data by itself.

Unilytics experts would love to help you create and communicate your data story using Tableau Story Points!