Data stories use the techniques of traditional storytelling — narrative flow, context, structure — to guide audiences through data and offer flexibility to find insights relevant to them. Data may be the star, but your data story won’t cohere without a mix of additional ingredients.
There are at least four things that you’ll want to incorporate into your data story that go beyond the data visualizations:
The first step in a data story is to set the stage. You want to explain to your readers why they should care about what you’re going to tell them? This is also an opportunity to let your reader customize the data they are seeing to make it more relevant to them. A couple of good examples:
2. Educate your readers
Before plunging your audience into a complex or innovative visualization, you want to take some time and space to explain how that visualization works. Tooltips and gradual animation can help the user absorb how to read to the visualization. Try these examples out:
3. Explanation of insights, notes, help
Data stories shouldn’t create more questions than they answer. In some cases, you may want to be explicit about what meaning a reader should take from a visualization.
4. Actions and recommendations
A data story should lead to action. Make some space to explain what recommended actions your readers might take based on the results.