What Is Data Visualization | 5 mins read

What is Data Visualization and Why Does it Matter in Big Business?

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Lauren Christiansen

By Lauren Christiansen

What is Data Visualization?

What is data visualization, exactly? Data visualization is when an individual presents data in the form of graphs and charts. It makes it much easier for an audience to understand complex data which optimizes a restaurant's decision-making. Even the least technically savvy person can look at a bar chart and know the story the data is trying to tell.

With new and improved business intelligence systems, users can click a few buttons and drill down into these pictorials for further insight. Many of these tools are fully interactive, which enables decision-makers to alter the data they see and process.

Since the digital transformation, visualization tools have evolved along with the entire field of data science. More businesses and restaurants now use these BI tools to know more about customers, employee performance, and internal operations.

Because the human brain processes image much faster than text, many restaurants prefer to include visualizations as part of their reports. Rather than sorting through lines and lines of big data, managers can find the answers they need in the form of a simple graph.

Here are some of the top types of visualizations that large restaurants and businesses utilize -

  • Scatter Plots - Scatter plot uses coordinates to display values for two variables for a data set. Good for observing relationships between two variables.
  • Stacked Bar - Uses bars to compare data sets; with the capacity to break down to contrast parts to a whole. Good for showing how a large category is divided into different subsets.
  • Time Series Graph Shows repetitive measurements over a specific length of time. Shows specific patterns/trends.
  • Pie Charts - This shows how a total amount is divided into different categories or amounts. Good for showing how the total budget was spent or how much inventory is ordered each month.
  • Line Charts - Line chart displays data as a set of data points that are connected by straight lines. Good for tracking changes over short time frames, such as expenses over a month.
  • Bubble Chart - Displays 3 dimensions of data. Good for comprehending social, economic, or science-related relationships.
  • Heat Map - Data scientist uses a heat map to show the impact of a phenomenon. Variation in colors is used to show the intensity of impact. Great for showing user behavior on websites or social media pages.
  • Bar Charts - Compares two or more things between groups to track changes over a time frame. For example, a bar chart can show a comparison of consumer preferences by demographics.

Why is Data Visualization Important?

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Because businesses collect more raw data than ever before, they don't always know what to do with it. It's easy to not understand what information is critical to business success and which isn't. With effective data analytics and data visualization tools, users have access to real-time insights.

Furthermore, an audience can understand exactly what it is looking at. As a result, businesses can drill down into inefficiencies, understand customer preferences, and improve sales projections. For large restaurants and businesses, this is imperative to innovate, grow, and achieve key goals.
Read ahead to learn why visualizing data leads to better decisions.

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1. Data Visualization Amplifies Messaging

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Pictures and images are much more powerful to an audience than text or lines of data. Experts believe this is because visualization data is correlated to a stronger memory. Furthermore, images elaborate on and retell a story in a distinctive manner, which also impacts an audience.

With the appropriate visualization, an organizational story can be amplified. However, employees shouldn't just use any graph or chart within a report. To be most effective, they should incorporate the chart that best correlates to a particular situation. For example, a time-series graph is more effective than a pie chart for a change in sales over a month. If employees fail to use the correct graph, they will not amplify the message properly to an audience

2. Data Visualization Optimizes Understanding of Key Information

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An employee can explain the severity of a situation, but until there is evidence, it will not have as much of an impact. Spewing out lines of data or regurgitating facts are not going to grab an audience's attention. However, a brightly-colored pie graph that shows a large chunk of budget waste is bound to get noticed.

Because data visualizations enable an audience to process large amounts of information at once, they tend to understand it better. It enables management to see the inner workings of business operations so they can problem-solve and make decisions.

3. Data Visualization Enables Decision Analysis

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Good decisions aren't made by guesswork or instinct, but by the type of available evidence in the form of data. When employees use high-quality data to create visualizations, managers can make better choices.
However, if the data collected by a restaurant is biased, inaccurate, or unreliable, a visualization is useless.

Furthermore, good data visualizations and data analytics don't try to distort the truth of a situation. Otherwise, managers will make poorer decisions than they would if they used guesswork or instinct.
This is why it's so important to optimize data collection and analysis and use data visualization properly.

Large restaurants must collect the right kind of information and hire qualified data scientists to cleanse, transform, and allocate the data. Businesses should also regularly update outdated visualizations as they continue to collect new data.

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Key Takeaways of What is Data Visualization

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Here are how large restaurants use data to create powerful visualizations, and why this is so critical -

  • Types of data visualizations include scatter plots, stacked bar, time-series graph, pie charts, line charts, bubble charts, heat maps, and regular bar charts.
  • Data visualization tools enable decision-makers to optimize problem-solving, drill down into complex information, and solve inefficiencies.
  • Data visualization is important because it amplifies a message. Graphs and charts are easier to understand. With the right color scheme and chart, an audience will know the story the data is trying to tell.
  • Data visualization also enables an audience to comprehend complex information and optimize decision analysis.

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