The Importance of Data Visualization
Technology has made the world a much more convenient but also complicated place. The advent of databases gave way to search algorithms and eventually lead to the glut of information that we call Big Data today. The volume of information that is available today is staggering, and that number is constantly growing. According to TechJury, 90% of all data has been created in the last two years and internet users generate roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.
Data is so important that the Economist claimed in 2017 that data has edged oil out as the world’s most important resource. The importance of data has been acknowledged as a primary means for businesses to analyze their performance and decide how to move forward with their operations. According to a survey conducted by New Vantage, 97.2% of businesses are investing in Big Data and AI (artificial intelligence) initiatives.
It’s clear that data plays a huge part in today’s business world, but the complexity of that data cannot be overstated. Data is an incredibly useful tool, but humans have a hard time wrestling with large numbers like the aforementioned 2.5 quintillion bytes of data generated daily. Daniel Ansari, a researcher at the Numerical Cognition Laboratory at Western University in Canada, says on the topic of data comprehension, “The main obstacle is that we’re dealing with numbers that are too large for us to have experience perceptually.”
In other words, you believe what you can see. This is why data visualization is so important for making the most of today’s information.Making the Most of Data with Visualization
Data visualization plays a vital role in increasing our ability to consume data and derive value from the information presented to us. While numbers like 2.5 quintillion are nearly impossible to fathom, visual representations help us make relations to data that use terms and ideas with which we are familiar. There are three primary goals of data visualization: exploration, education, and engagement.
1. Data Exploration
Data visualization makes it easier to explore relationships and patterns present in the data compared to other forms of presentation, such as tables or plain text communications. Visual aids help speed up the process of analyzing data and discovering the implications behind the raw information.
2. Data Education
Utilizing data visualization as a learning aid helps people to assimilate information and better understand the evolution of trends over time. Graphs and infographics can express detailed and extensive information in clear and concise ways that are easier to digest when compared to long-form written documents or bloated lists. The audience is able to grasp the weight of the information quickly, making their own observations and conclusions of the implications behind the data.
3. Data Engagement
Data visualization aids in creating a more appealing presentation or piece of communication. Graphics enhance engagements by drawing in the audience and providing information in a more approachable way. The audience can connect with the visualized data in ways they would not be readily able to in the case of raw data formatted in bulleted lists or overwhelmingly dense tables that would be necessary to convey the same amount of information.
The next time you’re creating a presentation, putting together an informational booklet, or composing an email with data analytics, consider whether that data could be better understood or more easily explained with the use of data visualization techniques. Not every piece of communication necessitates graphics, but they can go a long way in reducing the time it takes to absorb data and the likelihood that the information will stick with your audience afterward.