See the Data
Data, data, data. Nowadays a lot of topics circle around data. How to gather data, how to analyze data, clean data, smart data, strategic data and a whole lot more. But today we would like to give some insight on another topic: visualizing data.
First off, let us define "data visualization". It is the representation of data through use of common graphics, such as charts, plots, infographics, and even animations. These visual displays of information communicate complex data relationships and data-driven insights in a way that is easy to understand. But understanding data is not just a matter of using the right tools and methodology at the right time. Making data beautiful and comprehensible is truly a subtle art. It can be expressed in various ways. We apply different techniques (on and off our screens) to showcase data in the best possible way.
Now that we got that off our chests, let's give you a more practical example on why data visualization helps us to better understand data. As you remember, the past two weeks we have presented two fun "visuals of the week" that show the top 10 dog male and female dog names over a period of 10 years (part 1 and part 2). We did not pick those two visuals randomly - in fact they are the perfect example on why data visualization makes data truly comprehensible.
Let us show you the data source. We already linked it in the past two blog articles. Tasso used a simple table and added a column for each year, from 2021 to 2011. The cells of the table each contain one name, ordered from 1st place to last (10th place). Take a look at the data in that form. At first glance there does not seem to be much change in the data.
Now take a look at the same data in a different format. We kept the general idea of a "table", but color coded the names and made changes in ranking traceable by connecting the dots/names. Now we can see changes we did not really perceive before. There is a lot more movement within the top 10!
If you thought that made a lot of impact, then take a look at the male dog names. Left the data source, right our visualization. Once again - what a wild ride indeed. We can see that the table makes it easy to read the top 10 for every year, but to identify trends and easily see changes a good visual is the way to go.
We hope we could give you some insight on the importance of visualizing data with these fun examples. In other blog articles we will elaborate on how to pick a format for your visual, and also some do's and do not does in data visualization. But for now we will end this article in style and share some very personal insight on dog names. Since we have our own pooches, or data dogs as you will, the naming process is one that we are quite familiar with. We enjoy the company of a female Bernese mountain dog named Charly, and a male Rhodesian ridgeback called Dia. They may not appear in this top 10 of names, but both of them are certainly our number one!