Data Visualization has been here for a long time now. From using maps, graphs in early years to adopting data viz tools like tableau, salesforce, and SAS in the contemporary market, the concept remains the same to better visualize a pattern, only the methods have evolved now with the in-flow of technology.
As the fundamental component of data science, data visualization literally means drawing graphs to exhibit data to help decision-makers with better decisions.
SAS describes it as the presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format. It enables decision-makers to see analytics presented visually, so they can grasp difficult concepts or identify new patterns. With interactive visualization, you can take the concept a step further by using technology to drill down into charts and graphs for more detail, interactively changing what data you see and how it’s processed.
Tableau, on the other hand, says, “Data visualization is the graphical representation of information and data. By using visual elements like charts, graphs, and maps, data visualization tools provide an accessible way to see and understand trends, outliers, and patterns in data. In the world of Big Data, data visualization tools and technologies are essential to analyze massive amounts of information and make data-driven decisions.”
The necessity of data visualization arises as to the human brain processes information, using charts or graphs to visualize large amounts of complex data easily than working over spreadsheets or reports. It provides a quick, easy way to convey concepts in a universal manner and allows users to experiment with different scenarios by making small adjustments. Data visualization helps identify areas that need attention or improvement and clarifies which factors influence customer behavior. Through such tools, the user can also understand which products to place where and predict sales volumes.
In a data-driven age, we couldn’t even imagine an industry without the successful use of data visualization tools. At least, every STEM field is benefitted from the graphical representation of data across various industries including government, finance, marketing, history, consumer goods, service industries, education, sports, and significant others.
Data visualization is a practical, real-life application that is undeniable and since it’s so prolific it has become one of the most useful professional skills to develop. Moreover, as the concept of the citizen data scientist is at rising, skillsets are bound to change to accommodate a better and highly efficient data-driven world. Data visualization is increasingly valuable for professionals: to be able to use data to make decisions and use visual effects to tell stories of when data informs the who, what, when, where, and how. While traditional education typically draws a distinct line between creative storytelling and technical analysis, the modern professional world also values those who can cross between the two: data visualization sits right in the middle of analysis and visual storytelling.
What are the significant advantages of Data Visualization?
As noted by Salesforce, visual content is processed much faster and easier than text. In fact, researchers at the Pennsylvania School of Medicine indicate that the human retina can transmit data at roughly 10 million bits per second. The retina, explained by the news release, is actually a part of the brain that has grown into the eye.
Data visualization taps into this concept of how quickly our brains can recognize images and make sense of them. James Haight of Blue Hill Research explains, “The brain operates with neural networks that allow us to predict patterns based on external stimuli at great speed. And once we learn a pattern, the brain is excellent at recognizing it again. What’s more is that one of the greatest inputs into our brain’s pattern recognizing process is, you guessed it, visual imagery. So, in this sense, data visualization tools play into our biological sweet spot. The human mind may not intuitively understand complex statistical models or things like ‘R squared’ values, but we are quite adept at picking out patterns from visual displays.”
In a world where employees are overloaded with information, visuals allow us to quickly process and section out the necessary information.
Moreover, while 90 percent of information submitted to the brain is visual, learning styles vary among the population. Some learn kinesthetically, while others are auditory learners. The majority of the population, however, 65 percent to be exact, are visual learners. Data visualization and online data visualization tools help make it possible to quickly comprehend the information presented.
Moving past the spreadsheet era, modern technology has transformed information from generic spreadsheets into appealing and easy-to-read charts and graphs. Online data visualization is a tool to present data visually and gain insights from that data.
Data visualization may help your organization see where there’s room for improvement or where performance is high. Actionable items can result in identifying successes and areas for improvement.
Being able to visualize data produces real results. The time saved in creating up-to-date reports means greater efficiency company-wide. In an Aberdeen report, organizations that use visual data discovery tools are 28 percent more likely to find timely information than those who rely solely on managed reporting and dashboards. The study also reports that 48 percent of business intelligence users at companies with visual data discovery are able to find the information they need without the help of IT staff all or most of the time.
Organizations that embrace data visualization see rewards to their bottom line. In a study of global businesses, only 26 percent of the respondents’ organizations used data visualization. Most of those companies, however, lead in revenue growth and planned to invest even more in data visualization in the next year.