In a post some time ago, I wrote about my growing interest in data visualization, and its importance as (1) my team’s work in User Experience consulting was gaining more exposure with executives, and (2) we began working with larger datasets that lend themselves well to these types of representation. I continue to see the importance of these methods to support our User Experience work.
In reading some industry news recently, I came across an interesting article from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) called A Tour through the Visualization Zoo. I found it to be a helpful collection of different types of data visualization, with some insights about which ones are best used for what types of data or interpretation.
The article assumes that you know what type of data you have or that you need to collect in the first place, and that you’re clear about why or for whom you need to display it … which is actually the hardest part, of course! What I would love to see is a primer or a guide about how to move backwards from the overall report and storyline to the specific visualization to the research / business problem to the research method or data collection instrument. Because to me, the art form here is really the process underlying these visualizations, specifically how to work backwards from the problem space to the data collection. That said, perhaps what I need is advanced training in statistics and not a data visualization primer. 🙂
Until I find time to go back to school for quantitative research, I continue to follow some interesting blogs on this topic. These are a few of my current favorites:
- At the top of my list is Flowing Data
- I also really like Information is Beautiful
- I enjoy the wide variety (e.g. not always 2-D) visualizations on Information Aesthetics
- Data Visualization has some good material
- Indexed provides accessible, funny, hand-drawn visuals on well-known topics
- Well-Formed Data is also good
If you have other data visualization blogs or sites that you enjoy, I’d love to hear about them!
thanks for these links, Natalie. I’ve enjoyed some of the “Indexed” pictures, but was not familiar with most of the other sites. One of the people who inspired me in this area is Edward Tufte — “the Da Vinci of data.” http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_vdqi