The huge – and growing – amounts of data being collected by businesses and organisations of all types and sizes is only of use if it is analysed professionally to gain insights and information of commercial benefit. Similarly, this information can only be of value if it is presented in an easy to assimilate form – and this is where data visualization comes in.
What is data visualization?
As its name suggests, data visualization is the method of putting information gained from data analysis into a visual form so it can be easily understood. Expert data analytics consultants know which of the multitude of data visualization methods work best for a given circumstance.
For instance, a basic method is using a bar graph to show sales for each month over a given period, or a pie chart to illustrate the various ways customers found out about a given offer (social media, advertising, website and so on).
You likely see data visualization most days of the week: for example, when house price trends over a time frame are discussed, it is usual for them to be shown in graphical format, so it is easy to see when rises and falls occurred and by how much. Correlation charts also work well to reveal dependencies.
It is common in sports coverage to show graphs where, for example, a tennis player won or lost most of their points with a graphic, or whereabouts on the pitch a footballer spent a lot of their match time using a heat map.
Using data visualization makes it easy at a glance to digest information compared to, for example, poring over a row of facts and figures on a spreadsheet. We think in visual form so the human brain can make sense of visual information such as shapes and colours more easily than dry text and figures.
The advent of big data, and the ever-more extensive and detailed analytics that larger and more specific data sets have made possible, have also ushered in a wider range of data visualization products for business intelligence. Microsoft Power BI is an excellent choice for business owners, directors and heads of departments wanting to keep informed in real-time.
Ways data visualization is used
Some of the common ways data visualization is used:
Frequency – how often something occurs in a given time frame.
Changes over time – how trends and events alter over a time frame, for example, sales during different months and times of year.
Scheduling – a complex project requiring various elements to happen at certain time intervals can best be planned using a graphical schedule visualization.
Types of data visualization method
Apart from the basic bar graph and pie chart, there are now several types of data visualization that most people would see in everyday circumstances such as charts, tables, graphs, infographics and maps.
In more specific commercially focused cases, data analytics professionals might use others such as bubble cloud, bullet graph, Gantt chart, heat map, matrix, radial tree and several more. The visualization method deployed would be the one best able to present the information for you in as easy to digest form as possible.
How do we decide what type of data visualization is best?
If you partner with a data analytics professional to gain insights from your data, then they can help in choosing the best way – or ways – to present findings based on the information you require.
For example, examining trends over a historical period such as past purchases in a store would require a different visualization (a line chart for instance) compared to examining footfall in certain parts of a store where a heat map may be the best option.
What is a key benefit to us of data visualization?
Undoubtedly a key benefit is that the right form of visualization relative to the information being presented is the ability for even the untrained eye to spot trends, changes and even pointers to future direction.
Good data visualization puts you in control and means you can not only make good use of your all-important data but can do so quickly as expert data analytics from your experienced professional partner can be analysed and presented promptly. Ideal if, for example, you wish to quickly follow up customers after a sales campaign or similar.
How do we make the most of data visualization?
Talk to expert data analytics consultants: data visualization is part of the general data gathering, storing and analytics process to help you make the most of your vital data and is also based on the specific type of information you need to know – this can vary from one business type to the next. Your data analytics partner can help you with a tailor-made plan based on your business aims and objectives to ensure you’re using the best data visualisation for the tasks in hand.