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Data Visualization

Data Visualization: Science, art, or both?

The way information is presented can determine the success or failure of the use of tools such as BI.

We live in a fast-paced, visual world. Capturing people’s attention is a challenge even when it comes to a work activity such as analyzing data in a business intelligence (BI) dashboard.

Therefore, the way the information is presented can determine the success or failure of the tool’s use.

There are two distinct trends when it comes to conveying information in visual form: data art and data visualization.

Data Art

As the name suggests, it is related to a more elaborate visualization of the data, that is, a refined design that has as its main objective to provide an aesthetic experience, even if this may impair the reading of the data.

 

Example
Data Visualization - Data Art Example by Florian Krautli

Detail on distribution of artworks in the Tate collection by birthdate of artists, visualized by Florian Krautli

As an example we can cite an important corporate presentation whose visual appeal, with eye-catching images and graphics, needs to engage the viewers, creating a positive ecosystem for the company.

In data art the key word is creativity. It is not enough to show information in an organized way, it must be used as an instrument of persuasion.

Data Visualization

The other trend, data visualization, values clarity in the arrangement of data with the main objective of facilitating the reading of the information.

The design approach does not start from the premise of visual experience, but rather from the objective of transmitting the information as naturally and quickly as possible, without the visualization object (graph, table, etc.) necessarily being beautiful or visually appealing.

 

Data Visualization Example

 

Data visualization example - Mobile data visualization interface

Qlik Sense mobile home screen interface for a large bank in Brazil

In most of the customized data panel projects that we deliver here at Cluster, we adopt the Data Visualization approach, as in the example below, where the mobile analysis panel was designed primarily to render the data in order to be as simple and easy as possible for the end user.

 

Data Visualization in the Data Analytics Market

With the ever-increasing demands of companies, there is no time for the professional responsible for the analysis to dwell on extensive and more elaborate graphics, even though their aesthetics are more pleasing to the eye.

We say this because data art has become more popular, especially due to the greater appreciation of the creative teams in companies, in addition to the greater space of the trend in the art market.

In Brazil, the attempt to introduce data art objects to the routine in the reading of BI dashboards is recent and requires care.

The enchantment that more complex and attractive analysis objects may cause in a first moment becomes a challenge to the interpretation of information, if users don’t have enough skill to deal with this kind of object.

We are still in a maturation phase, in which companies are discovering how data art fits into the routine of information analysts, and learning that the aesthetic issue can often be overcome by the practicality of having easy access and interpretation of data.

Anyway, the market already offers both types of experience to companies, and it is up to those who are implementing BI to decide between the two approaches, based on the profile of users and their expectations.

Finally, our suggestion is to know and test what’s new in the market, as well as the global trends on the subject, but without giving up the best consolidated practices.

Evolution always comes respecting the acquired learning, without closing your eyes to the future.

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