Adapting visual narratives to support multiple formats

Adapting data storytelling visual narratives for different presentation formats can be both an art and a science. To effectively communicate your insights, it’s essential to tailor your approach based on the format and your audience’s needs. Here are some of the best approaches to consider for various presentation formats:

Written format 

In a written format, such as a report or article, it’s important to use clear, concise language to describe your data insights. Use simple sentences and focus on the key points. Alongside the written content, visual elements are strategically integrated to enhance the storytelling. Visuals should complement the descriptive text, not replace it, to provide additional context and enhance the reader’s understanding of the story.  For example, in a report on global warming, you might include a line graph showing the increase in average global temperatures over time and then use text to explain the trends and their implications.

Live presentations 

In a live presentation, visuals should be the main focus, as they help to engage the audience and make complex information more accessible. Streamline the language and remove excessive details that may not be relevant or might overwhelm the audience during a live presentation. Use images, charts, and graphs that are most impactful, informative, or visually appealing to illustrate key points.  If using a slideshow, each slide should represent a clear message or story point, with concise text and visually compelling graphics or images. For instance, when discussing unemployment rates, you could show a bar chart comparing the rates for different age groups or a heatmap illustrating regional differences.

Interactive dashboards

Interactive dashboards are an excellent way to allow your audience to explore data on their own. Adapting a visual narrative into a data dashboard involves transforming the narrative’s content and visual elements into a format that is interactive, user-friendly, and allows for exploration and analysis of the underlying data.  Provide filters and controls that enable users to manipulate the data and view different aspects of it. Use of well-defined objectives and purpose of the data dashboard ensures the audience has an overview of the data and facilitates specific analysis. Choosing the most suitable data visualizations will effectively represent the insights identified in the visual narrative. For example, in a dashboard about the US elections, you could offer filters for different years, political parties, or demographics and include various visualizations like maps, pie charts, or bar charts to support audience exploration and understanding.


Infographics are a popular way to convey complex information in a visually appealing and easily digestible format. They combine text, images, and data visualizations to tell a story. For example, an infographic about the gender pay gap might include a series of pie charts or bar graphs illustrating the differences in wages between men and women across various industries, along with text describing the key findings and possible solutions.

Social media posts 

When sharing data stories on social media, keep in mind that your audience has limited attention spans and may be viewing your content on small screens. Opt for bold, eye-catching visuals that can be quickly understood, and use short captions or headlines to summarize the main points. For example, a post about childhood obesity might feature an engaging chart comparing the prevalence of obesity in different countries, accompanied by a brief headline highlighting the most notable findings. 


The key to adapting data storytelling visual narratives for different presentation formats is to consider your audience’s needs and preferences and tailor your approach accordingly.