Data storytelling is a popular buzz-phrase this year. In our opinion, this popularity reflects growing recognition that visualization and narrative are supposed to come together to tell you something important about business processes. Our leaders are no longer satisfied with dashboards and similar that ‘look cool’. The honeymoon period with business intelligence methods is over. Leaders want to know what they should be doing, inferring, appreciating, or praising given a picture of data.
Forbes published a neat little article about the facts versus fiction of data storytelling. While they detail the fictions clearly, I would like to highlight the failures they point out in their explanations. When you are putting together your story, check that you are not guilty of any of these things!
- Failure 1: Your visualization doesn’t clearly communicate anything such that a story pops out. The reader doesn’t know where to look.
- Failure 2: Your visualization is impressive, but your narrative is lackluster.
- Failure 3: Your story structure is boring and predictable.
- Failure 4: Your story focuses on the data or technology, and not the process problem or impact on real, living people.
- Failure 5: You force a hypothesis (see Failure #3) and it is awkward– it doesn’t fit.
- Failure 6: Your narrative is descriptive, not explanatory.