Your Quick Guide to Data Visualization





Quick Guide – Data Visualization

What is it?

We hear a lot about data visualization.  But what’s it all about?  The saying – a picture is worth a thousand words (or numbers in this case), is the best way to understand data visualization.  It is defined as any effort made to help people understand data by putting it in a visual context.

Data visualization helps to:

  • Simplify complex information
  • Analyze and explore large amounts of data
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Identify relationships between data elements
  • Explore new patterns and reveal hidden patterns

Why is it important?

At one time or another, we have all been faced with the task of trying to digest large tables of numbers or other collections of complex data.  It is well documented that most of us respond much better to visual images as opposed to poring over spreadsheets or reports. For example, in 2014, a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found the brain can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds.  And there are many sources that suggest that 65 percent of us are visual learners.  The accuracy of that statistic may be open to some debate, but it is fair to say that most of us find it easier to work with information that is presented visually.

Some Examples

Hans Rosling was a Swedish physician, academic, statistician, and public speaker.  He promoted the use of data to explore development issues.   The link below will take you to one of his more well-known visualizations where he demonstrates global improvement in health and wealth over a 200-year period.

200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – Hans Rosling

The following visualizations come from the Visual Capitalist

These visualizations provide an interesting overview of Jeff Bezos Empire

You have probably heard stories about how hard it is for emerging musicians to make money. These info-graphics visualizing 40 Years of Music Industry Sales  illustrate the problem.

As you can see, attempting to portray the data from any of the above visualizations in a non-visual manner would be far more complex.

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Francis Liska
CEO OTUS Group | OTUS Group
Francis is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Certified General Accountant, Certified Information Systems Auditor, Certified Internal Control Auditor and a Certified Management Consultant. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Cape Breton University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Information Technology. He has also completed graduate studies in decision analysis at Carleton University.

1 thought on “Your Quick Guide to Data Visualization

  1. Erin Reply

    This is fascinating – thanks for sharing, Francis! Visual Capitalist is a great find.

    Data visualization is becoming increasingly important to help make sense of the masses of information that we must somehow absorb every day (as that is being produced at an even faster rate than we can consume!).

    I appreciate the article!

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