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Big Data Visualization: A Beginner's Guide
From SmartData Collective

by Dashboard Insight, Dashboard InsightWednesday, August 14, 2013

SmartData Collective provides a run down for those new to big data and visualizing it.

Today, businesses can benefit greatly from analyzing the data that they receive concerning products, sales, and customers. The value of BI, or business intelligence, comes from being able to sort through this information and identify important connections. Data visualization is a great way to make data discoveryclear and digestible. However, some forms of data visualization are better than others. Here are some tips to follow when working with charts to make sure that viewers understand the data.

Avoid 3D At All Costs

Three-dimensional charts can add unnecessary confusion when it comes to data. The perspective makes it seem that information marked by the back axis is less important than that in the foreground, which is rarely the case. It’s best to simply avoid these types of charts rather than have to worry about misunderstandings.

Line Charts Indicate Time Change



When tracking a change over time, always use a line chart to indicate what is being measured. Other types of charts seem disjointed and it will not be immediately clear to other viewers exactly what they are looking at. The connected plots help indicate that the only change is time rather than other variables.

Pie Charts Are Great… If They’re Simple



Pie charts can be great for comparing percentages. However, if you’re trying to chart values, a bar graph is a much better option. Keep in mind that pie charts can get convoluted if there are too many sections; a pie chart is most effective when comparing two different values, but if you must include more, make sure that you keep it to five or fewer “slices.” When working with data visualization, the most important thing is that it makes it easier for the viewer to understand. Make sure that your viewer won’t have to work too hard to understand the chart.

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Source: SmartData Collective

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