The Changing Landscape Of Data Visualization Requires A Radical New Approach

In a recent media interview I was asked about whether the requirements for data visualization had changed. The questions were focused around whether users are still satisfied with dashboards, graphs and charts or do they have new needs, demands and expectations.

Arguably, Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics were probably the first real "commercial" examples of data visualization (though many people before the Egyptians also used the same approach — but more often as a general communications tool). Since then, visualization of data has certainly always been both a popular and important topic. For example, Florence Nightingale changed the course of healthcare with a single compelling polar area chart on the causes of death during the Crimean War. 

In looking at this question of how and why data visualization might be changing, I identified at least 5 major triggers. Namely:

  • Increasing volumes of data. It's no surprise that we now have to process much larger volumes of data. But this also impacts the ways we need to represent it. The volume of data stimulates new forms of visualization tools. While not all of these tools are new (strictly speaking), they have at least begun to find a much broader audience as we find the need to communicate much more information much more rapidly. Time walling and infographics are just two approaches that are not necessarily all that new but they have attracted much greater usage as a direct result of the increasing volume of data.
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Infographic: Human Development (from the UN Development Programme)

Reineke Reitsma

Lately, there are so many cool Infographics popping up, with lots of global information. Yesterday I shared a link to an infographic from the World Bank. Today, you'll find a link to a tool from the United Nations Development Programme.

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Infographic: The World Bank Data Visualizer

Reineke Reitsma

By now, most of you know my love for infographics. A colleague recently pointed me to this great tool of the world bank: The World Bank Data Visualizer.

It has it all: data for 209 different countries, trending, and customizable axes. This is a great tool for everyone who's doing global research and wants to know more about the countries researched, and how they relate to each other.

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Infographic: The Social Media Landscape

Reineke Reitsma

Reineke Reitsma [Posted by Reineke Reitsma]

When you regularly have conversations with your colleagues about social media activities, the platforms, and the impact on consumers you might find this 'Conversation Prism' graphic useful. Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas of JESS3 build this helpful chart that shows the activities and the networks that make the Social Web.

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Infographic (or video again): Did You Know Version 4.0

Reineke Reitsma

Reineke Reitsma [Posted by Reineke Reitsma]

This is a follow-up video to the one I posted last week about how technology has changed the world. This video shows how consumers' use of these new technologies affects traditional media channels and communication patterns.

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Infographic (or infovideo really): Did you know?

Reineke Reitsma

Reineke Reitsma [Posted by Reineke Reitsma]


Interesting visual presentation showing how technology developments have changed the world (and consumer behavior).


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Infographic - Insight Into The Recession Globally

Reineke Reitsma

British newspaper the Guardian developed two interactive graphics to help understand what actually hit us in the past year, and what stage of the recession different countries are currently in.

The first interactive graphic shows the timeline of the recession, and gives insight into the main events in the different regions of the world.

Recession2-graphic-guardian

The second graphic shows the recession phase the selected countries are in, and why:

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Infographic: US Immigration Explorer

Reineke Reitsma

The New York Times has a great tool on their Website that gives insight into US immigration patterns:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/03/10/us/20090310-immigration-explorer.html?ref=us

It's interactive, you can select country/region of origin, and you can look at actual size of the population as well as percentage. Anybody interested in researching and targeting ethnic audiences should check this out! Compliments to Matthew Bloch and Robert Gebeloff of the NYT for putting this together.

Immigration-Explorer-NY-Tim  

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Infographic: NY Times Uses Historic Data To Predict How The Recession Will Evolve

Reineke Reitsma

The New York Times has put together a very interesting interactive graphic that shows how recessions behaved in the past, and what this means for the future. Please note that the picture below is a static image.

NY Times Graphic

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