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What is Data Visualization?

Data analysis allows researchers to examine a lot of information, and many of them wonder, “What is data visualization?” Data visualization is a process of creating an image or graph from numbers. For people who are more visual types of learners, putting data together in this way makes more sense than looking at rows, columns, and lists of numeric results.



Way of Showing Information

Data visualization is a way of putting abstract information into an image. For many people, numbers do not make a lot of sense. Complex statistics can be confusing. Translating abstract data into the ways that people see things makes it easier to relate information to others. Data may be translated into size, length, width, color, shape, and position. These attributes make more sense to the human brain. For many people, it is easier to think about an abstract topic when they have an image that puts all of the information together in a meaningful way.

Tell a Visual Story

It is easier to tell a story when pictures are involved. Visual data stories are also more engaging, especially for people who are not experts in the area of research. Data visualization allows a statistician or researcher to tell an integrated story based on information. It is also easier to have a discussion about data when there is a visual representation of the information. People are visual creatures, and having an image to look at in partnership with the hard numbers creates a more interesting narrative and compelling case for planning an action.

Method of Communicating With Others

According to Visualization Matters, simple graphs or charts do not tell an exciting or compelling story. The human mind is hard-wired to enjoy colorful, detailed pictures that use shapes, sizes, and locations in order to convey information. The eyes can take in a lot of information in mere milliseconds of time. When a person looks at an image created through data visualization, they understand the information faster and more completely than they would if they looked at the lists, rows, columns or charts of numbers.

Means of Becoming Data Literate

In today’s integrated economy, people have to have some working knowledge of information that is outside of their area of expertise. Data visualization makes this easier. It functions as a means of becoming data literate. Using data visualization in a meeting could allow a person who is not an epidemiologist to understand how an epidemic of hepatitis A unfolded in a community and spread to surrounding areas. This type of information could be shown to nurses, community planners, pharmacists and others who have some knowledge but not in-depth training in the epidemiology of infectious diseases. Data visualization also enhances the data literacy of non-professionals who may be interested in a subject but who do not want to get too far into the details and numbers that are behind the information.

Data visualization allows more people to make sense of numeric information. Putting data together this way makes it easier for a statistician or researcher to tell a convincing story, share information with non-mathematicians and explain complicated results or studies. Knowing about what is data visualization allows any data scientist, researcher, statistician or related professional to inform a wide community of important results.