Data Visualization and Qualitative Reports

By Priscilla Lim

Screen Shot 2019-10-03 at 5.13.07 PM         When writing reports, we are often looking for the best ways to effectively synthesize and communicate our findings to a larger audience. Implementing data visualizations into qualitative report writing is an effective tool that can enhance how findings are presented and understood by those who will be reading the report, as it works to help create a shared understanding of what the main findings are.  Effectively utilizing data visualizations in report writing can help to express concepts or findings in a quick, easy, and memorable manner. 

      It is easier to think of how to implement data visualizations into a quantitative report since we can easily turn our numerical findings into pretty graphs. However, implementing data visualizations can also be a great way to help communicate findings in qualitative reports because the visual representation of data can provide the starting points for discussions by indicating exactly what the main takeaways of the research are. It also can make complex findings easier to understand through the ability to convey the concepts in a visual, digestible and summarized format. 

      As mentioned, it is often easier to think about implementing data visualizations into quantitative reports, like numbers and percentages easily pave the way for visual representation through graphs, charts, and infographics. Due to the nature of qualitative report writing, it is sometimes an afterthought to implement data visualizations, however, the benefits of doing so are worthwhile. Two ways that data visualizations can be implemented into qualitative report writing are through adding more data visualizations to the report itself, such as a word cloud, or turning the data into a customer journey map. 

       Word clouds are a commonly used data visualization technique that can help to illustrate the data presented in qualitative reports. Word clouds are an effective method for providing insight and clarity to large chunks of text data. Using font size and color, word clouds can convey the popularity and frequency of various responses, thoughts or ideas. In a word cloud, the words or phrases that are most frequently utilized appear in a larger font than other words or phrases that were used more sparingly. Since word clouds utilize things like size and color, they are easy to understand, make an impact and can easily be implemented into a qualitative report. 

      Another great way to implement data visualization into qualitative report writing is by transforming the data into a customer journey map. A customer journey map is a visual representation of every experience your customers have with a specific product or brand. Customer journey maps help to visually identify key tasks and processes, and opportunities for improvement through being able to outline in detail a customer’s experience with a product or feature in a visual format that is quickly scannable.

 

READ MORE: Visualizing Big Data, Customer Journey Map: AI Edition, 4 Tips When Reporting Biometric Research to the UX Community5 Commonly Used Metrics in User Research

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