We humans might be data averse by nature – especially when presented with data in a spreadsheet (see Data Tip #1). But there is one type of data we can’t get enough of: data about ourselves. So when visualizing data, consider how you can put your viewer/user/reader into the chart, graph, or map.
The Guardian cleverly places their reader squarely in the middle of this simple chart. First, they ask what the reader expects is the correct answer to a question concerning a news topic such as: “Out of every 100 prisoners in the United States, about how many do you think were born in a foreign country?” The reader gives her answer and then can compare her answer to that other others in her country and to the correct answer.
Try it yourself. Would these stats have engaged you nearly as much had The Guardian simply presented them in text form? Are you more likely to remember these stats tomorrow? Did you reflect on how on/off the mark you were? Did you consider why your answer differed from that of others?
See other data tips in this series for more information on how to effectively visualize and make good use of your organization's data.