Data Visualization

Data visualization creates emotions

Data is boring and made for computers, not for human. Data visualization is the third step and is the key which gives feeling and emotions to data.

This can be as simple as a plain list or table showing the number of bars in a neighborhood. The insight created by the data is up to the user: that’s a cool neighborhood to go out… or maybe I never want to move to that neighborhood.

The same data on the number of bars can be presented in many different ways. For example as dots on a map. The size of the dot represents the capacity of the bar and the color indicates the pricing. But the fact the user gives meaning to the data stays the same: is the area an excellent neighborhood to go out or a nasty place to live?

Ways to visualize data

There are many ways to visualize data. From a very basic table to an advanced interactive animation. To get some grip on this wide variety of data visualizations I do use the following categories.

  1. Graphs
  2. Pictures
  3. Animations

All of them have the option to use interactivity to achieve a better and customized insight.

Which data visualization is best?

The best way to visualize data is not one way and always start by asking three basic questions.

  1. Who should get an insight by the visualization?
  2. What is the insight you like to share by a visualization?
  3. Which data is available to create the visualization?

Where and how to publish the visualization

All right, by now we got a nice appealing presentation of the data. But where do we present this? We could put the tables and maps in a pdf document and have the user print the report. Although very close to the way data was shared hundreds of years ago, it’s still  a powerful way tot share the data and give all kinds of different people the ability to give meaning to the data.

On the other hand, young people looking for a place to go out probably didn’t print the pdf in advance, but likely have their smartphones in the pocket. What about a nice app showing the data?

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