Survey data can be tricky to present. So much data, so many breakdowns, where to start? Here is my take.

First, let Excel make "dumb" data visualisations, simply use the automated tools of the spreadsheet to visualise the results somehow. Use this data to analyse / what is actually going on. While a chart for a live audience should be clear in 5 seconds, these charts are for you, and it might take you a couple of hours before you have figured out what the most important trends in the data are. When finished, all these charts go in an appendix of the document.

Now write down what the key messages of the survey are, and find the data that specifically support that message. One message per slide! Next, find the most appropriate data chart that can present that data. I often see people mix up columns (time series), pies (harder to read than stacked columns), and bar charts (rankings).

Below are 2 designs that can be useful for survey data that cut across different segments. The first is the classical approach: a series of column charts. The first one shows the entire population, the second and third give a breakdown for specific segments.

Here is a slightly unusual variation for this chart. I went back to table and duplicated the axis labels for each segment. This table highlights the order/ranking stronger than the value of the actual data point. To add more clarity, I colour-coded the ranked data for one sub segment (not the total!). This brings out the contrast between the segments better.

Click the images to find the slides on the template store. Subscribers can download the slides free of charge. Cover image by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

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