Baby Steps: Nurturing the Buzzwords of Data Visualization and Storytelling

Data Visualization. Storytelling. Two of the hottest #MRX buzzwords in recent years. What do they mean, how much are they being used…and most importantly, why should you care?

For the 13th year, FocusVision partnered with meaning, ltd. in the Market Research Technology Report. For 2016, we gathered feedback from 200+ global research companies regarding technology drivers and future developments. This included specific modules on data visualization and storytelling. These subjects were also broached in 2011 and 2014, in an effort to identify trends. Here’s what we’ve learned thus far:

Love Me Some Microsoft

Looking first at data visualization, results indicate resistance to using anything other than MS Office tools. Excel and PowerPoint rule supreme, with 84% of companies claiming usage. Perhaps due to this, static charts are predominantly used in presentations over infographics, dashboards or interactive charts. Interestingly, the use of dashboards and interactive charts has dropped, while static charts and custom infographics show only a negligible increase.

Larger companies are more likely than smaller organizations to create advanced and demanding visualizations. Intuitively this makes sense, as they may have more resources in these areas. However, as technology develops and dashboards become more flexible and affordable, adoption should rise.

Wanted: Who Will Tell the Story Behind Storytelling?

Where does storytelling fit in, and how are companies adopting these techniques? We first explored how people understand the concept of storytelling, and received a varied response. Some considered storytelling as a visual presentation of data, while others talked about “going beyond the numbers” or telling stories driven by data. While respondents did agree that storytelling has a client’s needs at heart, the overall interpretation of storytelling is unclear. In other words, we need people to tell the story behind storytelling.

Storytelling does have growing appeal, with over 44% of companies around the globe using it as a way to make data more engaging. It is being used in a variety of scenarios, from debriefs and infographics to workshops and written reports. 50% of large companies use storytelling frequently, and companies in the US and Asia use it more than those in Europe.

Time to Pull On the Big Kid Pants

When it comes to buzzwords, “data visualization” and “storytelling” as methodologies are still in their infancy. However, there’s little reason for organizations of any size to keep these approaches in diapers. Everyone can benefit from learning about and nurturing them to improve their research. The upside? Time savings, added interest, and insights brought to life. Now, raise your sippy cups to that!

Interested in learning more? Read the full report.

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