Top 3 Tips for Research Visualisation

Monday, March 06, 2017

Yesterday we had a new infographic wall installed in our office which serves not only as our reception sign, but more importantly communicates our vision of making data and statistics visual- and understandable.

Research is at its best when it tells a story, when it paints a picture, when it’s research you can see.

We live in a visual world and so we gather information from what we observe. It is the research that we see that we respond to best. So in a world of big data- we need visual data!

Images not words get cut-through

Symbols not languages are universal

Pictures not statistics connect across the generations

There is an old management maxim which stats “what gets measured gets done.” But to that we would add: what gets measured and communicated gets done.

What gets visualised gets understood. What gets shared gets acted upon.

We believe that if it is important enough to collect and analyse the data- then it is important that we visualise and tell the story of the data.

So here are our top 3 words when it comes to visualising data:


Don’t overcomplicate it. Like a good pasta sauce: start with the best ingredients and reduce, reduce, reduce. When it comes to information, if you want to tell them more, tell them less and you’ll tell them more.

Research methodologies matter. Quality analysis is important. But making the data visual, creating research that you can see, ensuring the information tells a story - that’s absolutely critical.


Use symbols that are relatable and metaphors that are understandable.

Research that makes a difference has to be seen not only with the eyes of your head, but also with the eyes of your heart. It makes sense rationally, and you get it viscerally.

Think about connecting with the individual- and so you will connect with all. What is most personal- is most universal.


Vary the colours, concepts, styles: mix it up. Elegant variety matters. Statistics should be fun- like animation. People should be able to play with data. Research reports should not sit on shelves but be interacted with, and shared on social media, or put up on reception walls (like this one!) or beamed onto buildings.

So to ensure your big data doesn’t become boring data use SIMPLICITY, RELATABILITY and VARIETY to tell the story.

Until the last excel table has been transformed there’s work to be done.

About Research Visualisation

In a world of big data, we’re for visual data. We believe in the democratisation of information, and that research should be accessible to everyone, not just to the stats junkies. 

We’re passionate about turning tables into visuals, data into videos and reports into presentations. As researchers, we understand the methods, but we’re also designers and we know what will communicate, and how to best engage. 

Whether you’re looking to conduct research from scratch, or if you have existing data that you want to bring to life – get in touch with the McCrindle team.

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