What is Data Visualization?
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is exactly what data visualization helps you to realize. By using visuals like charts, graphs, maps, and images, it is significantly easier to understand concepts versus a table of data. Data visualization techniques help to simplify complex tasks like pattern recognition through the use of graphs and charts. Data visualization also helps when combining information from different sources – often this combination can lead businesses to new realizations.
In today’s world of Big Data, tools like data visualization are playing an ever-increasing role. Companies and businesses have come to realize that their most valuable commodity is actually information and most specifically the information about their customers. This knowledge helps organizations plan new products and services and even reprioritize tasks. However, the volume of data available to businesses continues to grow so it is important to understand how best to visualize data.
What is a Data Visualization Strategy?
A data visualization strategy is a plan for the way you intend to use the data you find from different data charts. Creating multiple data visualization strategies help you make knowledge-based decisions regarding how your business interacts with its customers.
Building a data visualization strategy is important for your business because processing mass amounts of data are often overwhelming. Because of how daunting data processing is, your business needs a data visualization strategy that will help you compartmentalize data and help with organization. A business that is organized is more productive and efficient than a business that is off track and unorganized.
The Problem with Dirty Data
One key point to note is that many businesses have lots of data that is incorrect or false. In some cases, it could be simple duplicates of accounts, mis-entered data and even older legacy information from previous business practices or companies. Any data visualization strategy needs to incorporate data cleaning as a key first step in the process. Using the information that is incorrect in your analysis will only lead to incorrect conclusions, so businesses need to focus on clearing dirty data.
Building a Data Visualization Plan
While cleaning your data might seem an unsurmountable problem in and of itself, it is also important to understand how math, business analytics, and user experience play a factor in a complete data visualization plan.
Statistics and math are the cornerstones of any data analysis plan. There are many tools available to help you manipulate data, but the underlying principles need to be understood and formulae created that will help you obtain the answers you’re looking for. Math can be considered the bridge between your raw data and the final summarized dashboard and solution.
Business analytics is the analysis of the data that is provided through data visualization. Business analytics helps ensure that decisions are generated based on what the data is saying. These decisions are based on prior business experience and research. Through this research and analysis, companies and organizations are better able to build a product or service that is useful and that will appeal to customers. Business Analytics allows you to make decisions quickly and accurately via massive amounts of data.
The third foundation of any data visualization plan needs to be the user experience (UX) itself. UX is built around an understanding of the final product or service itself. It entails case studies and field tests where actual testers and customers can have an opportunity to trial the product or service in real-world conditions. These user-focused tests will help determine the suitability of the product and give more insight into any additional elements that need to be considered. With UX, it’s critical to know what questions to ask to get the right information.
Understanding and Using the Data Correctly
Building a graph without knowing the type of data you’re trying to visualize is difficult. This situation is even more complex when building dashboards that auto-populate with live data automatically. It’s critical to know what you’re trying to portray and the information you are trying to provide. Part of this is knowing what information you already have, but the greater and more important part is knowing what answers you are looking for. Once you know the answers you are looking for, you are better able to use data visualization, user experience testing and mathematics, in asking the right questions.
When data is accurate and useful, it becomes critical to businesses and in fact, an Experian report states that 95% of US companies use data in their decision-making processes. In addition, 84% of organizations believe that the right data is an essential building block in their longer-term business strategies. This understanding of the value of data has brought a host of tools and roles into the marketplace that previously did not exist. One of these roles – professional data visualization specialist – is something we specialize in at United Perfectum. Here we ensure that we ask some specific questions before we start any job to ensure that our understanding of the requirements is clear.
- What problem do you need to resolve with visualization?
- Who will be the end-users of the visualization? Do you have different expectations for different roles?
- How many users are going to use visualization?
- What devices will be used by end-users to consume the visualization?
- How frequently you want the data on the visualization to be updating (on-demand, real-time, etc)?
- What sharing options do you prefer to have for the visualization?
- What type of data sources do you expect to aggregate for the visualization?
- What is your expectation for the amount of data and types of data that will need to be handled?
Data comes from hundreds of different sources in businesses and the pipeline of information is only increasing. We understand the importance of data to a business and how it can help drive the bottom line. We have experience not only in helping organizations visualize massive amounts of data, but also helping them understand the meaning behind that data. At United Perfectum we know that data drives business decisions and we want to help you realize this in your organization also.