Deliver Data Visually

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In this modern world, information flows like a flood. To help digest information and reshape data into a more understandable form, people developed data visualization or in other term, infographic. To make people easily understand information we share. Margaret Rouse in searchbusinessanalytics.techtarget.com state that data visualization is a term to describe any effort to help people understand implied meaning of data, by transform it into visuals. Any information might not detected in text-based data can be recognized easier with visualization.

Why people tend to understand pictures than written words? Because human is visual creature. Most of us process information based on what we see. According to Social Science Research Network, 65% of us are visual learners.

There are abundant examples of data visualization available online. Some of them are good, but some others are not as good, or even bad. Good or not good has to be described as has the data visualization delivered, or not delivered any information implied on the data.

Three qualities that make data visualization successful according dummies.com are visually appealing, scalable, and give the user the right information.

Example of successful data visualization is England Riots: an Interactive Timeline by The Guardian. Visually appealing, easy to understand and deliver the right information needed by users. Users can measure and create predictions based on the data. Also it is interactive, which make the data more interesting. Users able to choose one incident and read news about it by clicking the selected icon.

england_riots_timeline_02

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/interactive/2011/sep/05/england-riots-timeline-interactive?CMP=twt_gu

One example of unsuccessful data visualization is Chess Pieces Survival Rates by Oliver Brennan, in flowingdata.com. It might have the right information to give but it doesn’t have an appealing visual quality. It only consist some flat squares and numbers. It might interest some specific users such as chess players but some others might not find it interesting at all.

Chess-survival-rates-620x635

An interesting point of view about data visualization came from Neville Brody, an art director and graphic designer, at BBC Newsnight, 9 August 2010. He said “The problem is making information pretty, actually, sometimes can hide the core message. The idea of making beautiful information, kind of misses the point a little bit”.

That’s the challenge. Making information not just visually beautiful, but still the information it self has to be passed perfectly.

Reference:

BBC Newsnight: Information Graphics 2010, video, BBC, 15 August, viewed 15 November 2014, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2Wnu1SOhKs >.

McCue, T.J (2013). Why Infographic Rule. Available from http://www.forbes.com/ [Accessed 15 November 2014]

Rouse, M. (2010). Data Visualization. Available from http://www. searchbusinessanalytics.techtarget.com/ [Accessed 15 November 2014]

Youk, M. (2014). What Makes Good Data Visualization? Available from http://www.dummies.com/ [Accessed 16 November 2014]

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