Data visualization

Data visualization, according to Tableau, is an image of data and information presented in a graphical form. It uses visual elements such as charts, graphs, and maps to present trends and patterns in data. Data visualization is a visual art form that capitalizes on the fact that our eyes are drawn to colours and patterns which capture and hold our attention. Seeing something helps us to internalize it quickly. Visualization is effective in helping us to see readily and clearly what we cannot see in a body of written information. A good image readily highlights trends and tells a story in an uncluttered way and presents useful information.

For data visualization to be effective it must have a good balance between form and function. A graph should not be too plain as it could be too boring to capture attention and the most captivating visualization could fail to convey the right message. The data and the image must complement each other in a way that combines great analysis with great storytelling.

Every professional industry can benefit from making data easier to understand. Data visualization has everyday, real-world applications that cannot be denied. Being in a data-driven world where data visualization is so prolific, it is important for business professionals to have or seek data visualization skills as it is of increasing value for professionals to be able to make data-driven decisions and utilize visuals to tell stories.

There is much more to data visualization than simple graphs and charts. Common types include charts, tables, graphs, maps, infographics, and dashboards. More specific types include area charts, bar charts, box-and-whisker plots, bubble cloud, cartograms, histograms, timelines and so on. Dozens of tools for data visualization exist, ranging from simple to complex. Different tools are more suited for particular situations and industry purposes.

If you would like to understand more about data visualization, look to Cornell’s certification in Data Analytics.

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