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Visualising the key to data.

Visualising the key to data. featured image

Why even lawyers are getting visual.

If you’ve read our earlier posts or looked at our website you know that being visual is a…“thing” for us. Maybe even an obsession. We’re always on the look-out for exciting and meaningful new ways you can use visualisations to improve the world. Which is why we were really excited about finding this.
If you don’t feel like clicking, or it’s all a bit TL;DR, the short version is: legally binding employment contracts in comic book form. The snarky amongst us might be tempted to remark that most legal documents are a joke, so this was a logical development. But we love this. Even in a conservative profession like the law, firmly rooted in the written word, a visual approach can yield exciting new outcomes.

The problem in this case (pardon the pun) is a common one in the developing world. Literacy and education rates among employees are low and legal documents are hard to understand. Employees sign because they have to, not because they understand, sowing the seeds for future misunderstanding and conflict. Re-imagining the contract as a cartoon lets employees fully understand their rights and obligations. Employees are empowered and employer trust is enhanced. Visualisation creates understanding and value. This is why we come to work!

Back at work, when we talk to clients, the number one thing they tell us they don’t understand is their data. Big data is often said to have five characteristics, the so called “Five Vs”: volume; velocity; variety; veracity; and value. Put simply, just about every company today generates a huge amount of data, very quickly. But it’s generally a bit of a mess with limited really useful information. That is, until you do something with it. This is the key to big data. It’s not the having, it’s the doing.

Why even lawyers arWhat we believe you should be doing is the “Sixth V”: visualising. The only way to make sense of the volume of data that is produced and available is to visualise it. A gigabyte excel file is meaningless. A well-constructed chart drawn fromthat data might be game changing.e getting visual.

Understanding visual decision-making.

The above highlights a critical point. Simply converting spreadsheet cells into a chart does nothing more than visualise part of a spreadsheet. It is declaratory. That’s fine. It’s often helpful to be able to display large volumes of data visually. But to really find value in your data you have to be more than merely declaratory. You have to make the data exploratory. You need to use it to drive a process of visual discovery that leads to better decision making.

The process of visual discovery takes data and explores different ways of presenting it. How can the data be visualised in a way that highlights what is really important? This is an iterative process of understanding the data and how it fits together. From there, the data can be manipulated to explore scenarios and define the possibilities of the future. At this point Hoist adds art to the science and illustrate these possible futures in the real world. We move beyond abstraction and reflect the reality of human activity.

There is a lot of thinking behind how best to visualise data. The reality is that visualisation is only a process. At Hoist we manage that process. We help you to collect, store, sort, verify and then visualise your data, identifying new insights; informing better decision making; creating a consensus for change; and catalysing action.

To follow up this conversation or to find out what Hoist is working on, email