Navigating the World of Visual Information: A Beginner’s Guide (Corporate)

Picture yourself immersed in a good book, not just passively absorbing information but actively ‘seeing’ and ‘navigating’ through a landscape of words or scenes. You’re translating visual or auditory data into an entire universe inside your head. This is the power of understanding and navigating visual information.

Despite the complexity of the tasks, most of us don’t even realize we’re doing them. But this ability – the ability to decode, understand, and navigate visual information – is deeply ingrained in our lives. It’s as essential as breathing and as natural as walking.


Best Practices for Navigating Visual Information 

Imagine this. Your school’s basketball team is doing great this year, and you want to see how they compare to last year’s performance. You find a colorful line graph in the school’s yearbook that tracks the team’s average scores over the past five seasons. How do you make sense of it all? Here’s a guide! 

  1. Notice What the Chart Shows. Before diving in, take a moment to observe the chart. Look at the title, labels, colors, lines, and shapes. It’s like meeting a new person – you first notice their appearance before you get to know them better.
  2. List What You See. Write down what you notice. For example, you might say, “The blue line shows the team’s average scores this year, and the red line shows last year’s scores.”
  3. Discover the Story. Every chart or graph tells a story. What does this one say? Perhaps, “Our team’s performance has improved a lot since last season!”
  4. Ask Questions. Ask yourself, “What’s the main point?” and “How does this connect to what I already know?” You already know our team has been practicing harder this year, so the improvement makes sense! 
  5. Connect to Your Knowledge and Experiences. Remember that awesome game where our team scored way above average? That’s probably that peak on the blue line!
  6. Analyze the Chart. Break it down like a puzzle. Check for patterns, trends, or changes. Our team’s score seems to increase towards the end of each season – perhaps they’re getting better with practice!
  7. Add Context. It’s important to understand what was happening when the data was collected. Look at the historical, social, and economic context in the same timeframe as the data. Maybe there was a new coach last year who helped improve our team’s performance? 
  8. Check the Author’s Purpose. Why was this chart created? Perhaps the yearbook committee wanted to highlight our team’s improvement. Look at the historical, social, and economic context in the same timeframe as the data and Check the author’s purpose for creating the chart.
  9. Decide If the Chart Is Trustworthy. Check if the data makes sense and if the source is reliable. The yearbook committee probably got the scores from official school records, so it’s trustworthy! Remember, being able to decipher charts and graphs helps you spot inaccuracies or inconsistencies. It keeps you from drawing the wrong conclusions.
  10. Share Your Understanding. Now that you’ve understood the chart, share it with others! You might explain the meaning of a picture or describe the results of a chart, saying, “Our basketball team has improved a lot since last season, especially towards the end!” 



Case Study: Deciphering Visual Information for Basketball Coaching

Meet Coach Marcus Anderson, a dedicated corporate professional turned basketball coach, who is now leading the City Hoops Academy’s youth basketball program. Marcus has a passion for teaching young athletes the intricacies of the game. One day, he was handed a detailed statistical report and a set of visual diagrams illustrating player performance and team dynamics. Recognizing the importance of understanding how to navigate visual information, Marcus embarked on a journey to extract meaningful insights to enhance his coaching strategies.

The report and diagrams depicted various aspects of player performance, including shooting accuracy, assists, turnovers, and defensive plays. Additionally, they presented a visual breakdown of the team’s offensive and defensive formations during different game scenarios. Marcus understood that his ability to navigate and interpret this visual information would be crucial in making informed coaching decisions.

One of the diagrams displayed player shot distribution on the court. The chart encoded information using color and size:

  • Color Coding: Different shades of color indicated shooting accuracy from various zones on the court. Marcus realized that this color-coded scheme allowed him to quickly identify players’ strengths and weaknesses in different shooting areas.
  • Size Encoding: The size of the data points represented shot frequency. Marcus understood that larger data points indicated high shot attempts from specific zones, enabling him to gauge players’ shot selection tendencies.
  • Zone Percentages: Labeled segments of the diagram showed the percentage of shots attempted from different court zones. Marcus recognized that these percentages provided insights into the team’s overall offensive strategy.

As Marcus navigated the visual information, he extracted valuable insights:

  • Player Development: By analyzing the color-coded shot distribution, Marcus identified that one of his players had a higher shooting accuracy from the corner three-point area. He decided to work on developing this player’s corner shooting skills further.
  • Offensive Strategy: The zone percentages revealed that a significant portion of shots were taken from mid-range zones. Marcus realized that his team’s offensive strategy might benefit from focusing more on high-percentage shots near the basket or spacing the floor for open three-point attempts.
  • Defensive Adjustments: A separate diagram depicted defensive formations. Marcus noticed that the team struggled in defending fast breaks. By analyzing the visual representation, he devised a plan to improve transition defense and minimize opponent fast-break opportunities.
  • In-Game Decisions: During games, Marcus used his understanding of the visual information to make quick decisions. When he observed the opposing team’s reliance on mid-range shots, he instructed his players to adjust their defensive positioning to contest those shots effectively.

Marcus’s adeptness at navigating visual information enhanced his coaching strategies. By deciphering the insights hidden within the visual representations, he optimized player development, refined offensive and defensive tactics, and made real-time decisions during games. His skillful analysis underscored the importance of effectively utilizing visual data in basketball coaching, showcasing his commitment to improving his team’s performance on the court.