Data Visualization Storyboard: Identifying Your Audience - dummies

Data Visualization Storyboard: Identifying Your Audience

By Mico Yuk, Stephanie Diamond

The first step in developing a clear storyboard for you data visualization is identifying your audience. Who you’re building your data visualization for ultimately determines what kind of storyboard you develop and what level of data you display.

The easiest way to classify your audience is to look at two simple components: line of business and job roles.

Line of business

Line of business (LOB) refers to an internal corporate business unit. The identified LOBs determine what kind of data to display. Human-resources data is very different from sales data, for example, in that it requires a lot of security and often the masking of sensitive employee data such as salary information.

Most big organizations have some of the following LOBs:

  • Asset management

  • Finance

  • Human resources

  • Information technology

  • Manufacturing

  • Marketing

  • Procurement

  • Research and development

  • Engineering

  • Sales

  • Service

  • Supply chain

  • Sustainability

Although it’s common to have multiple LOBs in a single storyboard, it’s recommended to use a maximum of two related LOBs per storyboard.

The “one data visualization fits everyone” approach is a common pitfall for data visualization beginners, who often find themselves with an unused data-rich Picasso, as shown in the figure below.

An example of an overdone visualization.
An example of an overdone visualization.

Job roles

This category refers to the role of a person or group of people in a given LOB and their stake in the resulting data visualization. The job titles and stakes of your audience members directly affect the level of data you should display in your data visualization.

This table shows some of the most common job roles within an organization. Levels may vary by company size.

Job Role Level of Data Display in Storyboard
C-level (CEO, CIO, COO, CFO, and so on) Company overview
High-level data
Vice presidents and senior managers Multi-division view
High-level data
Supervisors and directors Departmental view
High-level data
Drill down to details
Managers Team view
Drill down to details
Staff (individual contributors) Operational view
Drill down to details