Chapter 3 - Dealing with Data Visualization

How to Find Stories in Data

An effective infographic is more than a compilation of randomly placed facts and impressive graphs. It is an organized story and just like any well written content, it should provoke thought and action.

When you have identified relationships between a set of numerical data, interesting facts, maps, diagrams, and charts, ask yourself the following:

  1. What story does it tell?
  2. Do you find that story interesting?
  3. Will people want to share it?

Until you can answer yes to questions 2 and 3, you should probably keep digging through your data. If you can’t ever answer yes to those questions, try putting an interesting spin on the topic or pick a new one altogether.


If you are having a hard time understanding how to build relationships and tell a story through data, Statwing can help. The site allows users to upload their information to a software that sorts through the data to find relationships and stories.

You start by uploading data. The Statwing demo uses data on Titanic survivors.


Once the data is uploaded, you can use Statwing to select variables of the data to focus on.

Statwing demo

After selecting variables (in this case Survived and Fare Paid for Ticket), Statwing can deliver information that shows how the variables relate to each other.

In this case, Statwing assessed that: passengers that survived tended to have higher values of fare paid then those who didn’t survive. It also provides a summary of the information.

Statistical Statwing

And charts that show the information.

Stat Wing Chart

Essentially Statwing finds the story in the data for you, but even if you don’t use Statwing, you can use this same process to analyze the data.

  1. Consider the variables
  2. Look for the relationships
  3. Identify meaningful messages

A solid story is what makes a solid infographic. Always consider how you can display information to make the most of the story.

The infographic If The World World Were 100 People is a great example of how information when delivered in a simple, manageable way is powerful — even without elaborate and fancy design elements.

A simple shift (shrinking large, uncomprehendable numbers to a manageable amount) made the story so much more obvious and powerful. Now readers can relate the information to themselves in a group of 100, rather than relate themselves to a group of billions.

The Data Visualization is no longer a set of data, it’s a message with a powerful story.

World 100 People

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