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Thursday, Aug. 2, 2007 at 7:14 am

Data Visualization 2.0

By Bryan Eisenberg
August 2nd, 2007

Over the last few years, we’ve had a flurry of new techniques beyond the conventional ways — tables, histograms, pie charts and bar graphs — to display data. Smashing Magazine points us to some of the most interesting modern approaches to data visualization along with related articles, resources and tools.

Have you been able to use any of these visualizations in your workplace? Please share :)

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Comments (5)

  1. Many of the graphs presented in that article are quite appealing in their design and unorthodox ways of presenting data. I find most of them, however, hard to read, and I am not so sure they meet the first rule of data visulaization, i.e. clearly presenting data so that action can be taken.

    I confess being influenced a lot by the likes of Edward Tufte, and especially Stephen Few. True, efficient graphs and dashboards often lack sexiness, an obvious quality of the graphs in the article. It’s actually not a small problem: too many managers, and particularly in marketing, easily fall for the “good looking” stuff, and the visual intelligence business is feeding them a lot of that.

    The “keep it simple and clear” principle should always be the driving force, and more so the more complex the data. It’s really hard to do…

  2. Jacques,

    I agree completely with you, but we must keep a very important fact in mind; know your audience (Persona). Sometimes you can get a lot farther with slick than clear depending on who the data is being presented to. My personal preference is for clarity.

  3. Those interested in search visualization could find searchCrystal – http://www.searchcrystal.com – of interest, since it lets you search and visually compare multiple engines in one place. You compare, remix and share results from web, image, video, blog, tagging, news engines as well as Flickr images or RSS feeds.
    searchCrystal lets you see the big picture and find highly relevant results (the more engines that find a result and the more highly they rank it, the better the result), see the quality of the results provided (the more agreement between the engines, the higher the quality) and it can also be used for SEO (where do search engines place my site for a specific query).

  4. I completely agree with Jacques on this one (probably because I’m also a huge Tufte and Stephen Few fan). I think we’re too often seduced by style over substance. Bryan, I agree that with the importance of knowing the audience, but in addition to knowing the audience I think we should also “protect” them, so to speak. Protect them from being confused by something that looks cool but doesn’t convey the message clearly.

    I think the goal should be to do both — come up with a visualization that is not only clear, but also looks great in a way that is not distracting, and lets the content shine through.

    I think we agree and we’re all on the same page here, just wanted to add my voice to the choir :)

  5. A really nice job of collecting beautiful examples, but I’m going to echo Jacques and Rian. Admittedly in the Tufte and Few camp, I find that a handful of getpivots, indirects, and an off-the-shelf sparkline utility (in grayscale no less) communicate more effectively in my organization. Less is (still) more.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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