For health officials, one of the biggest hurdles for starting a new initiative is explaining it to the community effectively, and the complex nature of health information does not help the situation. A large table filled with data can be overwhelming to audiences that are not accustomed to receiving information that way. Therefore, public health officials need to focus on the presentation of data. Not all audiences will have the same knowledge base, so making things clear and understandable is a must.
There is no one size fits all for data visualization. Different types of data sets call for a variety of different visualization tools. If you are looking to convey population or geographic data, it is helpful to overlay this info on a map so that people can easily find the information as it relates to them. Whereas publishing the same data in a list format might not be as clear or usable for the same audience. For other types of data, such as systems that have multiple steps, infographics are often the preferred method since they can pair text with visuals to clearly depict each element of the system.
In sum, it’s essential to pay attention to the content and audience of the message to determine the best form for that particular message. Combining elements effectively can make information much more understandable and useful for public audiences.