Data Visualization for Beginners

A Comprehensive Guide to Data Visualization for Beginners

Technology

Data Visualization is the process of representing data & information of your organization in images, pie charts, tables to help your organization in decision making. In another word, it is the process of presenting the complex data in the form of images which is easy to grasp rather than plain text. In today’s world when organizations have a large database, the role of Data Visualizations becomes immensely important for an organization. Thus, a lot of organizations are including Data Visualization as an important part of their decision-making process. The data visualization is not confined up to images but infographics, tables, pie charts, geographic maps, detailed bars, sparklines, heat maps all are integral parts of Data Visualization.

So if you are a beginner and curious to know about Data Visualization, then this Data Visualization guide for beginners or dummies will surely be going to help you.

Before Proceeding ahead with types of Data Visualizations, let’s understanding why Data Visualization is Important and what are the benefits of Data Visualization for an organization.

Why Data Visualization is Important?

“A picture is worth than a thousand words”, in a similar way if you have to go through a lot of complex data to develop an understanding, it’d obviously require a lot of time and effort. Therefore, this approach won’t be going to help you in this fast-paced world, rather than that, you would look for an approach that helps you to represent a complex set of data easily and Data Visualization with its different techniques and types helps you to do it effectively. It proves immensely helpful for big organizations that are managing enormous data.

It saves a great amount of time and resources which they were compelled to invest in managing the data. Data Visualizations is applicable in every field be it technology, science, mathematics, economics, education, sports, and good services business. Those who are willing to make their career in the Data visualization field should keep in mind one thing that acquiring data visualization skills is not an easy task, it requires time and skills to acquire this skill.

In the era of the Big Data field, Data Visualization techniques and tools become essential in decision making. To learn data visualization, you must have command over the various data visualization tools and techniques.

Types of Data Visualizations:

These are the top 10 data visualizations types:

  • Column Chart
  • Bar Graph
  • Gauge Chart
  • Line Graph
  • Mekko Chart
  • Bubble Chart
  • Pie Chart
  • Waterfall Chart

1. Column Chart

This is one of the most common types of data visualization tools. The reason why they are considered to be the most used is that they are a simple way to depict comparison among different sets of data. They have been taught to us since our childhood so we all have many ideas about this data visualization tool.

When to use Column Chart for Visualization?

The column chart shows the chronological of an event or set of events that occurred over a period of time. For example, column charts can be used to depict the sales of your company in the last quarter across different branches. This is the best scenario where you can use Column Chart for data visualization.

When to Avoid Using Column Chart for Data Visualization?

Well, you should avoid using a Column chart if you have a large set of Data because data becomes thin and appear dirty. To make your chart appears simple and easy to understand use different colors, proper spacing, and layout to make it look understandable.

2. Bar Graph

Bar graphs are easy to represent information visually. There are different types of Bar Graphs that can be used i) Horizontal Graph ii) Column Graph and iii) Stacked Graph.

3. Horizontal Graph

This graph can be used if you to show the comparison. This is ideal if you have long data labels.

4. Column Graph

This graph is being used to show chronological data alike in a bar graph.

5. Pie Chart

Pie Chart is effective when you have to show composition variables over a period of time frame. Although, Pie Charts are not considered to be an effective data visualization tool. However, if you are not experienced with data visualization techniques then you can use Pie Charts to represent the data.

6. Mekko Chart

You must have not heard about this chart to visualize your data unless you are a data scientist. Mekko Chart is quite a similar layout to a stacked bar graph. However, unlike the stacked bar graph where X- dimension represents the time progression, it represents the other metrics. This layout helps you in measuring, comparing and evaluating data distribution at the same time.

7. Bubble Chart

Bubble chart is an effective data visualization tool. It helps in depicting the relationship. In bubble charts, you replace data points with bubbles.

Top Reasons to Use Data Visualization tools in your organization:

Now when you have learned about the different data visualization tools, It is appropriate to know the reason why data visualization tools can be used.

1. Comparing Values:

As a data analyst, your job is to analyze different sets of data to chalk out the similarities and differences among sets and charts. These charts reveal the high and low values of a particular data set that helps you discover trends and major gaps, inaccuracies in the data.

There are different types of data visualizations are being used to compare the values:

  • Column Chart
  • Bullet Graph
  • Bar Graph
  • Pie Chart
  • Mekko Chart
  • Line Graph
  • Scatter Plot

The above-mentioned data types will help you to evaluate the large database to derive useful information.

2. Show Composition:

If you want to segregate the data sets to discover how individual units perform then you can use a composition chart. For example, if you want to find out from which geographical locations people are coming on your websites, then this data visualization can be used.

There are different types of data visualizations are being used to show composition:

  • Pie Chart
  • Stacked Bar Graph
  • Mekko Chart
  • Stacked Column Chart
  • Area Chart
  • Waterfall Chart

You can use any of the above-mentioned data visualizations types to discover the composition in the data sets.

Analyzing the Trends:

If you have recently run a campaign and want to understand whether the efforts that you put up in advertising your product really paid off you well then you require to analyze all the data sets within a given time frame.

You can use the following data types:

  • Line Graph
  • Dual-Axis Line Graph
  • Column Chart

What are some good books on Data Visualization?

If you are enthusiastic to learn about data visualization then here are the list of some good books that you should read:

  1. “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” by Edward R. Tufte
  2. Storytelling With Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals” by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic
  3. Data Visualization – A Practical Introduction” by Kieran Healy
  4. Infographics Designers’ Sketchbooks” by Steven Heller and Rick Landers
  5. “Knowledge is Beautiful” by David McCandless

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