Data visualization explained: An Innovation Enterprise guide

Innovation Enterprise takes a look at best practices, trends and the latest innovations within the data visualization field


Data visualization, in one form or another, has been around for decades – possibly even centuries. It has long been clear that presenting statistics, ideas or histories in graphic form helps an audience understand and act on data that might otherwise seem unwieldy or inaccessible.

But the visualization of data itself is changing and evolving at a faster rate than ever, thanks to advances in computerization and programming that have taken place in recent decades. Today, tools from companies like Tableau Software, Tom Sawyer Software, AnyChart, Plotly and many, many others are not just dealing with facts and figures generated and delivered by humans.

The growth of big data – complex, high-volume datasets – is making major demands on visualization. These data partly come from the growth in connectivity that makes any human being with a connected device a source of information – on location, time of calls, call frequency and much more.

However, these data are also a result of the growth in Internet of Things (IoT) applications, which will increasingly supply useful information in vast quantities of often small amounts. This information could come from sensors on oil rigs, on supermarket shelves, in parking spaces, in farms – the list is as long as you care to make it. If effectively managed, the information could improve productivity, response times, traffic flows, harvests and more – if they can be presented in graphic form that can be seen, understood and analyzed more easily than raw data.

And, increasingly, they can. But this is not the only trend driving visualization. This is a fast-evolving area that promises much and, increasingly, needs to as end-user demand changes. Ahead of the Data Visualisation Summit in London on October 31­­–November 1, 2018, and a host of data and analytics summits during the DATAx festival in New York on December 12–13, Innovation Enterprise spoke to industry experts and data visualization professionals to bring together our DATAx Guide to Data Visualization in 2019 featuring interviews, case studies and analysis from across the ever-evolving data visualization field.

To find out more about the latest trends and innovations in data visualization, download our free ebook: DATAx Guide to Data Visualization in 2019

The Big Reveal: How visualization can unearth the secrets of data

Speaking at Innovation Enterprise's Data Visualization Summit in Boston in September 2018, Ying He, UX designer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, asked delegates what was the relationship between human and computer-recorded numbers and offered an answer to the question: How can data visualization design help us see the unseen faces of culture? Watch the presentation below or by visiting our On Demand service.


Insider View: Data Visualization with Volvo's Katherine Fraser

Katherine Fraser, manager of data analytics and visualization at Volvo Group on the challenges of creating data visualizations:

"Being able to tell a story with data requires a diverse set of skills including the ability to gather, cleanse, and relate data (this typically means coding, such as SQL and R), the graphic design eye to be able to choose the chart type, layout and colors that most effectively convey the information, and the creativity to come up with the best way to reveal insights.

"While there are tools today that are targeted toward business users and allow a nontechnical person to easily create a graphic, employing a trained visualization person will yield better results. And better data visualizations mean they are easily accessible for anyone to see and understand."

Read this exclusive view on the key challenges facing data visualization professionals

Top data visualization trends for 2019

Putting data on the map: One of the oldest forms of data visualization is right now becoming part of data sharing in a very new way. Cartography – maps to most of us – have long been capable of interactivity and are going to become even more interactive. Location data is joining forces with available information on housing, income, crime, education, pet ownership – you name it.

Better, briefer storytelling: A graph in a quickly and easily digestible form that addresses key points is often part of a new story. It could eventually be the story.

A graph on every mobile: We’re certainly not there yet, and probably won’t be in 2019, but data visualization is a racing certainty to have a role on mobile phone screens. However, there is still a very obvious question to answer: How do you access, use and above all create this information using thumb-based inputting on a very small-screened device?

To read the full article, Top data visualization trends for 2019 , download our free ebook: DATAx Guide to Data Visualization in 2019

Innovation Enterprise's data visualization hub

Every news story, feature or interview across Innovation Enterprise's Channels that touches on data visualization can be found in one place, our very own data visualization hub. Click here to see the latest stories and follow the feed .

If you want to find out more about how to transform data into actionable insights, visit Innovation Enterprise's Data Visualisation Summit, taking place in London on October 31– November 1, 2018.

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