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Data visualization is the visual representation of data by using graphs, charts, plots or information graphics.
Data visualization is also becoming increasingly interactive, allowing viewers to engage with the representation for deeper analysis and insights or a shifted perspective. Regardless of the medium, data visualization serves an important purpose: communicating key trends and opportunities to stakeholders for effective decision-making by making complex information more accessible.
Effective Data Visualization
When presented with a straightforward report, our eyes can’t help but glaze over the numbers; data that is visualized, on the other hand, communicates its significance faster and easier, providing the viewer with the right “ah-ha” moment. However, this is only when the visualizations have been well-designed—without the right considerations, data visualizations risk being just as confusing, simply in a new format.
Successful visualizations of data will allow the analytic content to inform the design, above all else. This means first identifying the goal or questions that the data visualization should answer, in order to understand how the design should take shape. For example, does this visualization clearly indicate the relationship between these data points? Does the visualization represent the quantities accurately? Addressing these questions will help determine which format, style, and color is best for your data visualization.
Upstream Considerations for Data Visualization
Since data visualizations are only as impactful as the data they represent, ensuring that this data is of the highest quality is extremely important. This begins higher up the data chain, when ingesting and preparing data for analysis. For example, Alteryx Designer Cloud helps users with visualization early on through complete histograms that detail the raw contents of their data. This empowers non-technical users, who typically design the visualizations, to gain insight sooner and better predict what and how they need to communicate.
Data Visualization Tools
There’s no question that effective visualization of data will allow your business to better understand its data and make better decisions faster. However, when creating various visualizations, consider the full lifecycle of that data. Get involved earlier on through self-service data preparation to ensure that you’re working with data of the highest quality and not missing any unforeseen insights.
Try out our 30 day free trial of Designer Cloud and see how you can visualize your data throughout the data preparation process.