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Data Visualization – Importance, Benefits and Use Cases

Date: 29-11-2023

Data visualization uses common graphics, such as charts, plots, infographics, and animations, to represent data. These visual displays are used to communicate complex data relationships and data-driven insights in a way that is easy to understand.

In the era of Big Data, data visualization tools and technologies are crucial to analyzing massive amounts of information and making data-driven decisions. It helps in understanding the data better and drawing insights that would be difficult to identify in raw data.

Why data visualization is important

Data visualization is crucial because it helps people understand complex data. It is useful in every industry, from STEM fields to government, finance, marketing, and beyond. Developing strong data visualization skills is an increasingly valuable professional asset, as it allows individuals to leverage information effectively. The ability to use data to make decisions and tell stories visually is highly sought after and lies in the intersection of analysis and visual storytelling.

Data visualization and big data

Visualization has become increasingly important due to the growing popularity of big data and data analysis projects. Companies are using machine learning to gather massive amounts of data, leading to difficulty in sorting, comprehending, and explaining the data. Visualization offers a way to accelerate this process by presenting information to business owners and stakeholders in a manner that is easy to understand.

Big data visualization uses more complex representations, such as heat maps and fever charts, which go beyond the typical techniques used in normal visualization, like pie charts, histograms, and corporate graphs. Visualization of big data requires powerful computer systems to collect raw data, process it, and turn it into graphical representations that humans can use to draw insights quickly.

Although big data visualization is beneficial, it can also pose several disadvantages for organizations. These include:

  • Hiring a visualization specialist to identify the best data sets and visualization styles ensures organizations optimize the use of their data.
  • Demands involvement from IT and management, as big data visualization requires powerful computer hardware, efficient storage systems, and even a move to the cloud.
  • To ensure accurate insights from big data visualization, it’s crucial to have established processes and personnel to govern and control the quality of corporate data, metadata, and data sources.

Types of data visualizations

When it comes to visualizing data, we often think of basic bar graphs or pie charts. While these are useful tools for displaying data, they only scratch the surface of what’s possible. Many different types of visualizations can make data more appealing, informative, and easy to understand. Here are some of the most common types of visualizations:

Charts: A graphical representation of data, usually in the form of a graph, diagram, or map.

Tables: A set of figures displayed in rows and columns.

Graphs: A diagram that shows the relationship between variables, often plotted along two axes.

Geospatial: A visualization that shows data in map form, using different shapes and colors to represent the data.

Infographics: A combination of visuals and text that represent data.

Dashboards: A collection of visualizations and data displayed in one place to help with analysis and presentation.

Here are some more specific examples of visualizations:

Area Map: A type of geospatial visualization that shows specific values over a geographic location.

Bar Chart: A chart that represents numerical values as bars, often compared to one another.

Box-and-Whisker Plot: A graph that shows the distribution of a set of data.

Bullet Graph: A bar graph that shows progress or performance against a goal.

Gantt Chart: A chart that shows timelines and tasks is often used in project management.

Heat Map: A geospatial visualization that uses color to represent data.

Highlight Table: A table that uses color to categorize similar data, making it easier to read and understand.

Histogram: A chart that shows the distribution of a set of data.

Pie Chart: A chart that shows data as a percentage of a whole.

Treemap: A chart that shows different values in the form of nested rectangles.

Common data visualization use cases

Data visualization is used in various fields for different purposes.

Here are some common use cases: 

Sales and marketing

Data visualization makes it easy to see how marketing efforts affect traffic trends over time. According to Statista, spending on digital advertising is estimated to reach $556 billion in 2022 and will cross $700 billion by 2025. Marketing teams need to closely monitor their web traffic sources and the revenue generated by their web properties. 

Politics

In politics, data visualization is commonly used to display the party each state or district voted for using a geographic map. 

Healthcare

Healthcare professionals often utilize choropleth maps to display crucial health data clearly and concisely. A choropleth map showcases segmented geographical regions that are assigned a specific color in correspondence to a numeric variable. By observing these maps, professionals can easily see how a variable such as the heart disease mortality rate changes across various territories. Choropleth maps are a valuable tool for visualizing health data and can help professionals make informed decisions.

Scientists

Scientific visualization, also known as SciVis, enables scientists and researchers to gain deeper insights from their experimental data.

Finance

Investors need to keep track of how their investments are performing when they decide to buy or sell an asset. To help with this, finance professionals use candlestick charts, which are trading tools that display important information about securities, derivatives, currencies, stocks, bonds, and commodities. These charts show how the price has changed over time, which helps data analysts and finance professionals detect trends.

Logistics

Shipping companies utilize visualization tools for determining the most optimal global shipping routes.

Data scientists and researchers

Data scientists and researchers often create visual representations of data sets using visualization libraries included in programming languages and tools. They use open-source programming languages like Python or proprietary tools designed for complex data analysis. These visualizations help them identify patterns and trends in the data that they might not have noticed otherwise. However, these visualizations are usually only used by the scientists themselves or shared with a select audience.

Tools for visualizing data

There is an abundance of tools available to choose from. Before selecting one, it is important to determine whether you need an open-source platform or if a simple graph created in Excel or Google Charts will suffice. 

Here are some common tools that might be suitable for your needs:

  • Tableau
  • Google Charts
  • Dundas BI
  • Power BI
  • Jupyter
  • Infogram
  • ChartBlocks
  • D3.js
  • FusionCharts
  • Grafana

Benefits of data visualization

Data visualization has various applications across various fields, including public policy, finance, marketing, retail, education, sports, history, and more. 

The following are some benefits:

  • Storytelling: People are attracted to colors and patterns that are present in various aspects of life, such as clothing, arts, culture, and architecture. Similarly, colors and patterns in data visualization help to convey the story behind the data.
  • Accessibility: Data visualization presents information in an easy-to-understand manner, making it accessible to diverse audiences.
  • Visualizing Relationships: When data is presented in a graph or chart, it becomes easier to spot patterns and relationships within the data.
  • Exploration: Easy accessibility to data enables exploration, collaboration, and informed decision-making.

Bottom Line 

Are you looking to translate your business data into actionable insights to enable informed decisions? Look no further! Our staff augmentation company is a leader in the industry, providing you with access to a talented pool of IT experts, including developers, engineers, data scientists, and more. 

With our data visualization services, you can stay up-to-date on your business trends, patterns, and the latest activities by automatically pulling data from various sources. Our presentations are designed to be the most consumable format suitable for the data type, helping you identify customer behavioral shifts and predict what will happen next. Contact us to help you plan and shape your next business move.

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