This infographic map by Adam Cole of NPR, displays what the U.S. looks like based on electoral votes. You can get the idea pretty quickly because visuals can efficiently tell a story.
In the book Back of the Napkin author Dan Roam describes “The Four Steps of Visual Thinking” which are 1) Look. 2) See. 3) Imagine. 4) Show. Or when we prepare a business report: First we look at the materials we have to communicate; then we see what within them is most interesting useful or relevant; then we imagine the best way to convey our message, and then we show our report to our colleagues.
This map shows the U.S., based on spending by outside groups like Super PACs. Florida, Ohio, and Virginia are receiving the most attention--based on this map. (Check out Cole’s full visualization on NPR.)
In the case of the map illustration above we look at what the map contains, we see what patterns emerge in the visual data, then we imagine what those patterns mean, then we can show our insights to our audience by walking them through the exact same process we just completed ourselves.