Data Visualization: Discover the Power of the Visual
Converting data into visuals has been a part of humanity since early days—cavemen scrawled their stories on walls of caves and hunts. In fact, the earliest data table known to man was created in the 2nd century and it involved astrological information to help with the navigation. It was rudimentary but the visual structure made it easier to understand the data arrangement. Fast forward to a few years ahead—the most well-known format of data visualization was the Cartesian coordinate system, the X and Y axis graph, which was created in the 17th century by Rene Descartes.
The education system introduced venn diagrams, pie charts, graphs and line drawings to better comprehend data. Academic courses on graphing data came into being in 1913 at Iowa State University in the U.S and it formally elevated data visualization to a science. Princeton University took an even bigger leap forward in 1977 with the concept of exploratory data analysis and forever changed our interaction with data sets.
Today we’re dealing with big data. One trillion devices constantly generated data in 2015 worldwide—a massive 90% of data was created in the last two years. Data visualization essentially takes raw data and shapes it to tell a visual story. It offers actionable insights to aid business decisions.
Why the need to be visual?
“Every single pixel should testify directly to content.”– Edward Tufte, Statistician, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science – Yale University
Would your mind be able to process tons of data if it was plainly put into rows and columns? Data visualization ensures you have your audience’s attention and allows you to do so by relying on human being’s natural affinity for certain cues. When data is depicted pictorially, people tend to process this information quickly and easily. Furthermore, today we receive five times as much information as we did in 1986. That’s an astounding leap and a lot for anyone to grasp. Consequently, there’s an even greater need to understand this data.
Visual trends help plan for the future, and utilize less time and energy for data analysis. The big picture leaps right out at you—uncover patterns, trends, subtle correlations and relationships between various elements of the business. Twenty-eight percent of managers that use visual data discovery tools are more likely to find relevant information than their counterparts who rely only on managed dashboards and reporting, says an Aberdeen Group survey.
Data visualizations have empowered the average person to access data insights without having to rely on data scientists. Your finance or marketing teams can pursue goals swiftly and in an informed manner. You could share status updates, and more with clients and other teams to ensure everyone is on the same page as data visualization is not only easy to disseminate but is much more receptive than a spreadsheet.
You can discover the outliers in your data and eliminate them to ensure they do not skew the results with graphics. And if you’re preparing for a big presentation and need to retain a lot of data, visuals help highlight the important parts.
Where is this all heading?
The burgeoning amount of data out there is only going to continue to increase and it brings with it plenty of opportunities. As the world becomes more interconnected, the need for data visualization will also grow.
Technology will enhance our data visualization capabilities. For instance, the vast majority of today’s data visualizations are 2D but this is evolving with the creative use of color and size, and a combination of space, time, and advanced computer graphics. Neuroscientists Emmanuelle Tognoli and Scott Kelso created a 5D model, the 5D colorimetric technique, that illustrates a dynamic and comprehensive view of brain activity.
Microsoft is also taking things into another dimension where users someday will be able to reach inside a visual and interact with it more dynamically using their Holograph, an interactive 3D platform that renders static and dynamic images above or below a plane for more natural exploration and manipulation of complex data.
Data visualization will improve the interaction between humans, machines, and the environment. Our visuals will grow more complex as will data but our understanding will get better with information that is simple to comprehend. Applications will evolve and we will have the ability to create better depictions of dynamic and intricate structural dependencies. The future of data visualization is expansive and bright. What your business chooses to do with it will determine your level of success.
At Netlink, we understand the need to harness the power of data. This is why we created Lumenore, your key to simple data visualizations. Input your raw data and watch your hidden insights unravel and lay themselves out in a straightforward UI that guides you to business success.
Talk to us today to learn more about Lumenore!