The Importance of Visualizations

By June 2, 2017visualization
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Thanks to our good friend Excel, grids and spreadsheets are king when it comes to reporting culture. It’s become ingrained in how we do business today, but ever so slowly, we are seeing data visualizations catch hold.

Grid data can be great when you want to look into the detail of what is going on, but visualizations offer a number of benefits that can improve our overall efficiency. Here are the three reasons why data visualizations are the key to taking the next step forward for your business.

1. Quicker Interpretation

Grids have all the data, but understanding what’s going on from a quick glance at a grid isn’t feasible. When we first look at data, we want to easily understand the high level story being told and in such situations, grids are the wrong approach.

Take a look at this monthly data, as a grid and as a graph.compare

This is a simplified example, but the value is clear even in this case. The grid has all the information, but it is far more difficult to interpret. The visualization shows the trend immediately and clearly.

2. Visible Outliers

The reason such rapid interpretation is important, is to enable business users to easily identify outliers in the data and notice trends. Whether good or bad, when unexpected results come about, we want to understand them better. Knowing where to look is a powerful first step.

Visualizations provide this ability. After you see where an outlier is occurring, then dive into the grid data all you want, but it’s far easier to start with visualizations.

3. Digest More Data

Have thousands of rows of data isn’t very useful to anyone on the face of things, but visualizations provide you a way to make sense of such large datasets.

They allow you to start from a higher level of understanding and drill down into the details. They key is to engage large amounts of data and flow through a natural process of discovery.

We’ll be diving deeper into types of visualizations in coming blog posts and give some context as to when they are appropriate and when they aren’t.

Keep a look out for the series!