Data Visualization Review
Data visualization is a general term that is used to define any form of technology that is used by mostly corporate executives or any other end user (researcher, analyst etc.) to help them see data that would otherwise be lost or difficult to find; this helps them to better understand the information they have and enables them to put the said data into its correct business context.
Correlations, trends and patterns that would otherwise be lost to such end users if they used text based data, is now made easy to recognize and thereby utilize when running any data visualization software.
In the corporate world, visualized data has gained a lot of prominence, not only on the C-suites but with both mid level managers and other members of the organization as it impacts positively in the decision making arena.
Such information is usually relayed in performance scorecards and business intelligence dashboards; this provides users with relatively high level data that relates to key performance indicators, specific corporate based information and other useful metrics.
Data Visualization Tools
The best data visualization tools do display data in highly sophisticated ways but make them quite easy to understand, such tools use geographical maps, gauges, tree maps, fever charts, time series charts, mind maps, spark line maps etc. to visually display the data.
In most instances, data visualization tools will have lots of images; these images normally have some interactive capabilities that allow or enable users to query or analyze the data provided, users can also manipulate the data therein and visualize the effect such changes may have on the entire block of data being visualized.
It is also possible to put in place indicators that can inform or warn users when certain predefined conditions are met or changed.
Such indicators can also be used to inform users when updates have been made. Drilling into the data to get highly specified output is also possible with some good data visualization tools; though most tools will allow drilling up to a certain level only for non-technical users.
One of the biggest dangers that both developers and users alike have noticed and are thus acutely aware about is the possibility of having highly jumbled up, or poorly designed dashboards that lead to information overload.
This is an irony in itself; as the main purpose of data visualization tools is to solve the problem of “too much information”.
There is thus a need to de-clutter the dashboard or any other display or output form that may be in use; this can be achieved by the Business intelligence project team at the design stage.
Currently, you will find most vendors of business intelligence software do make a point of embedding the very best data visualization tools into their products; this has been necessitated by the need to provide clients with intelligence that is easy to understand and customize.
Because the need for data visualization tools is driven by client demands for better user experience, faster and more accurate data for decision making purposes and the constant introduction of advanced programming languages and algorithms, some of the best data visualization tools are yet to come. The sky is by no means the limit in this very interesting field.