Friday, May 1, 2015

3 Hacks for Better Data Visualization


Information gathered from different types of surveys can be reborn into a number of visual methods that are more appealing and easier to digest by the reader. We’ll look at three different hacks showing ways we can turn information into images.

Turning raw data into other types of useful information is a practice that dates back to the Roman Empire when the government polled its citizens as a way of imposing taxes on their constitutes. Dry data can be enriched through better visualization techniques that turn the bland into breathtaking, boring into beautiful.

1. The Ancient Infographic Is Reborn

Many will compare infographics to some 25,000 year-old cave paintings as the birth of visualization, sharing information and storytelling through the use of these primitive drawings. Infographics can reveal data in a bright and colorful way that reaches more viewers than mere printed text.

Most often infographics are used to share statistical data and reveal surprising information or little known facts. They can also be used as a tool that shares complex data that can be difficult to understand into a form that can be easily absorbed by a novice. There are plenty of free, online resources for creating these images from raw data, statistics and other types of information.

2. Mind Mapping Reimagined

Mind mapping is another concept with a historic past that dates back to around the third century B.C. used by the philosopher Porphyry of Tyros who utilized it as a way to transform his ideas into a method of learning that was more easily understood by others. Today the internet, along with some forms of software, has transformed the scrawling of data on paper into a method of changing this information into a colorful schematic.

Starting with a root idea or concept, the mind map then branches out with associative words, phrases or other data used to organize the information and present it to viewers in a more understandable way. Once again, the internet has plenty of options for the user to create these maps available at no charge.

3. The Newer Slide Show

Many of us aren’t old enough to recall the days of viewing slideshows in the darkened living room of a friend or relative that returned from their vacation and shared images from their journey projected onto a white wall or screen. Today, these picturesque presentations are created and shared on sites like Slideshare, which is the largest community for sharing this type of content online.

Slideshare content can be embedded into websites and blogs, and are also shared on social media networks. Joining this free network gives users the tools they need to create these presentations directly from their platform.

New ways of turning data into images continues to evolve just as the way we view this information is also changing. Think of how far we’ve come from the days of the Romans when they delivered messages by foot, literally sending a marathon runner to deliver the news. Now we can access the world with the touch of a button and see global images on our screens that can contain a wealth of relevant and important information.

Tell us about a new visual tool you've found is helpful for visual storytelling, or to learn more on how to turn your data into beautiful graphics that tell your product's story, take us for a test spin. 


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