You may or may not have read the various blogs touting the myth of the “60,000 times” question, so here’s a quick overview:

There is no evidence backing up the often-misused statistic that we process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. In fact, there is still speculation as to where this figure originated.

However, this is not about an inaccurate viral statistic that has been proliferated across the internet. This is about how visuals can improve your business’s interaction with customers, leads, employees, manager, and various other stakeholders.

Why should you focus on visualizing data?

Your brain does process images faster than text. Not 60,000 times faster, but a recent study by MIT found that the brain can identify images in as little as 13 milliseconds while a Cambridge study estimated that semantic coherence of text occurs around 160 milliseconds.

There are many other studies that present differing statistics, but all indicators point toward image recognition being the fastest way to present a concept to a human.

Data visualization is becoming increasingly popular for BI and analytics. Presentations using visual aids are 43% more persuasive than unaided presentations. So, if you’re not leveraging the most you can from visual analysis of your information, you’re not maximizing your potential to attract and retain customers.

Need More Proof ? A Couple Examples Created in Tableau

Take a look at the “Sample Wal-Mart Weekly Sales Text Table”. The figures come from a sample Wal-Mart store sales data source available on Kaggle. Can you answer the questions in the blue box? Of course! All the information you need is presented in the table –no outside calculations necessary.

Tableau Text Table for BI Data Analytics

But now turn your attention to this simple bar chart, “Sample Wal-Mart Weekly Sales Bar Chart”. It presents the same data and asks the same questions. However, it’s a bit easier to see which holiday weeks and non-holiday weeks are above the red yearly sales average line.

Tableau Bar Chart for BI Data Analytics

Why is data analysis so important to my business?

Let’s continue to use Wal-Mart – the world’s largest company by consolidated revenue as of 2018 – as an example. How is it that they managed to be the number one Fortune 500 company for the 6th year in a row? It boils down to the Wal-Mart’s unwavering dedication to fulfilling its core purpose: helping people save money to live better.

Wal-Mart collects massive amounts of data that is analyzed to find optimized routes to shipping docks by running simulations to track the number of steps it takes for items to travel from dock to store. This helps to minimize shipping costs which can be transferred to the customer.

Additionally, data collected on shoppers allows Wal-Mart to know what products to discontinue and what new items and brands to carry. Big analytics is the linchpin in Wal-Mart’s ability to accomplish its goal and stay ahead of the pack in terms of revenue.


I will end with a few points to sum up data visualization and your business:

  • Humans comprehend information faster when it is presented in a format that is more visual than textual.
  • Your business needs data to expose everything from variability, below and above average metrics, and low or high performing areas.
  • To put your data to work, it must first be analyzed to determine the optimal solutions to implement.

Therefore, having the right data visualization tools will enable your business to more efficiently identify the right changes to be made in the right area at the right time.

Setting up the correct dashboards and other visuals to track and analyze your data can be complicated and time consuming, but it is well worth the effort.

If you’re looking to up your business game with dashboards and visual BI tools using the leading analytics software like Tableau, you can contact us for help with all your data needs – especially creating effective visuals!