The Power of Data Visualization

"The art and practice of visualizing data is becoming ever more important in bridging the human-computer gap to mediate analytical insight in a meaningful way."

―Edd Dumbill

Data visualization is the presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format. It enables decision makers to see analytics presented visually.  One nicely crafted simple graphic/chart can be more powerful than a full page of very informative data.

According to Wikipedia:

"A human can distinguish differences in line length, shape orientation, and color (hue) readily without significant processing effort; these are referred to as "pre-attentive attributes." For example, it may require significant time and effort ("attentive processing") to identify the number of times the digit "5" appears in a series of numbers; but if that digit is different in size, orientation, or color, instances of the digit can be noted quickly through pre-attentive processing."

Data visualization has been around for centuries, but what's transforming the industry is the digital revolution and advancement in computing power alongside computer software.

Because of the way the human brain processes information, using charts or graphs to visualize large amounts of complex data is easier than poring over spreadsheets or reports.

I believe certain type of chart is more effective than others, and of course, you have to use the right type of chart for the data.  Take a look at the example above.  You can instantly process large amount of the data due to color coding used on this world map.

Are you surprised that the U.S. actually has the highest prison population rate in the work?  There is actually one small nation in Africa with higher rate, placing U.S. in the #2 position.

Looking at the data table below, in convey the ranking order information better, but we cannot easily make out any geographical pattern and relations between countries.  It is often best to use visualization and the raw data together to achieve effective information delivery.

RankingTitlePrison Population Rate
2United States of America693
4El Salvador559
5Virgin Islands (USA)542
8Russian Federation441
9Guam (USA)438
12Virgin Islands (United Kingdom)425

In upcoming posts, we will explore the latest in BI tools, technique and big data - both publicly available and for purchase.
The Power of Data Visualization The Power of Data Visualization Reviewed by Brandon on October 02, 2016 Rating: 5

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