Expert Insight: 'Actually Understanding Your Data Is Crucial When Creating Effective Data Visualizations.'

We talk to Gabi Steele, Data Visualization Specialist at the Washington Post


Ahead of her presentation at the Data Visualization Summit in Boston on September 7 & 8, we caught up with Gabi Steele, Data Visualization Specialist at the Washington Post.

Gabi is a Designer, Speaker, and Data Visualization Specialist. She holds a Master of Science in Data Visualization from Parsons School of Design and currently works at The Washington Post.

What has been the single biggest change in data visualizations today and 5 years ago?

Despite the number of significant technological advancements related to Data Visualization, such as the rise of corporations like Tableau and open source tools like D3.js, I think the single greatest shift in data viz over the past 5 years is probably the specific demand for data visualization proficient professionals trained solely in the discipline to join teams and fulfill a newfound need at almost every organization dealing with data (which is pretty much EVERY organization out there).

Which piece of emerging technology do you think is going to most impact data visualization?

I think AI (artificial intelligence) systems, machine learning, and emerging technology of this nature are likely to be most impactful to the field of data visualization given the immense dependence and correlation to visually comprehending mass amounts of data that these technologies can quickly process and work with. Wearable technology is a similarly significant emerging technology with a very close tie to data visualization that may often be overlooked.

Do you think you need to understand data to effectively visualize it?

Actually understanding your data is crucial when creating effective data visualizations.

How do you see data visualization developing from a business perspective in the next 5 years?

From a business perspective, data visualization roles and teams will likely expand exponentially within most major corporations in the next 5 years but even more significantly perhaps is new business opportunities for younger companies that can position themselves in a sweet spot of harnessing data visualization in unique and highly profitable ways. Branded content is one example of a revenue driven advertising space that fits unusually well into data viz market.

You can catch Gabi's presentation at the Data Visualization Summit in Boston on September 7 & 8.

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