That doesn’t mean they can’t be fooled! While Fridays are generally the day the VisualCrew sets aside to honor the best and brightest data visualizations on the Internet this week we’re taking a break and focusing on something that is kind of necessary for any data visualization- the power of sight.
We’ve written pretty extensively about the power of the human visual system to decode patterns and spot differences based on color and shape (see here and here especially). But did you know that a clever illusionist can take that same power and use it to pull of some pretty incredible tricks?
by The VisualCrew
There’s something undeniably exciting about seeing live data streaming in, though it’s hard to describe exactly what’s so exciting about it. Is it seeing little blips move around a screen in real-time? Is it seeing the numbers change in a spreadsheet?
At VisualCue, we’ve had the opportunity to enter many businesses that had real-time, streaming data capabilities with no great way to visualize it. Every time we are brought in to implement a solution at one of these sites the thrill, for us anyway, is always the same. Seeing live data, for us anyway, makes it real. It’s easy to separate a static spreadsheet from anything tangible in the real world because, by it’s very nature, a static spreadsheet isn’t alive with data. As soon as the data stops coming in, it becomes a historical document.
But when you’ve got real-time, streaming data you are seeing exactly what’s happening in the moment, and that’s always exciting. Now you just need to do something with it. And that’s where we’ve learned a few things.
We know that might sound like an odd title for a post on a website that usually dedicates itself to celebrating all things data visualization all the time, but hear us out.
We’re talking about looking at history through data visualizations. We think it can be a fantastic new way to look at historical events in a completely new way. We’ve all taken history courses and know that, for the most part, historiography is dominated by long-winded essays and even denser textbooks.
But if a good data visualization makes things clear and easy to understand for everyone, then surely we can shed light on some of history’s most famous events through the power of visualization.
A few months ago, we had Tom Hull- VP of Florida Polytechnic University, tell us his thoughts on the impact of big data analytics in small-medium enterprises. He started off his article by stating that “The presence of big data analytics and the number of students who are pursuing a big data analytics degree has grown exponentially with the emergence of digital technology and the advancement of other high-tech fields.”
In that simple sentence, Hull brought forth a lot of great ideas. Most importantly, he brings out that big data analytics has spawned a new and vibrant field of study that is growing exponentially.
It got us thinking. As a new generation of students are pursuing a degree in analytics, there has been a concurrent explosion in new data visualization technologies that are designed to help anyone, regardless of training, analyze large data sets easier.
We’ve written a lot in the past about data transparency. We’re serious, it seems to be a theme around here (like this and this.)
For us, data transparency is all about presenting information in an easily understandable way. We talk about it so much because we believe data transparency will save the world because it empowers anyone, regardless of training, to start using data to make better, faster decisions.
So why is it that Gartner shows business intelligence and analytic tools still only penetrate about 20% of an organization? Why keep 80% of people in the dark?
Basically, we’re not playing nice with our data. By this point, we all should have learned to share. So why don’t we share our data within our own organizations? We spoke with our management experts and think we have a pretty good idea why.
Continuous improvement is a great idea. Come to think of it, it’s a great way to live life. To always be striving to be better at whatever it is you do keeps you active throughout your professional and personal life. It means you’ll never be complacent or lazy, and by the end of your career you’ll be a true master at whatever task you’ve undertaken and that has to feel good.
While everyone should always be striving to improve what they do, for some professions and positions it is an absolute necessity in order to not only be successful and happy, but to survive at all.
We’re talking about the managers and executives out there: those individuals entrusted with making the decisions that will guide the actions of entire teams and organizations. Profits are determined and jobs are kept or lost based on the decisions of these people, and as they improve so to does the entire team or business.
At VisualCue our entire business is built around improving efficiency. We’ve seen how a lot of managers and executives improve and gathered our favorite stories to boil it down to five basic principles.
It’s been fascinating to watch the changes that technology has brought about in journalism. While traditional newspapers might be taking a beating, one could argue that journalism has never been stronger. As more publications move to an online format and more people start getting their news from purely digital sources open access to quality reporting has never been easier.
But journalism’s move to the digital realm has had another consequence that really excites us. Digital publications generate data: data on keywords, headlines, even the number of times a word is mentioned. And where there’s data, there are sure to follow data visualizations.
So sit back, crack open that digital paper and let’s see what the world is talking about.
Do a quick Internet search of “best business intelligence tools for CEOs.”
Seriously, go ahead. We’ll wait.
Yeah, it’s not that heartening of a picture. And unless something has seriously changed in the time since we’ve written this article it’s especially depressing that the first site to pop up isn’t a list of amazing BI tools for the C suite, but rather an article entitled “sell your CEO on business intelligence software tools.”
We’re here to solve that problem by providing not only a list of current business intelligence tools for CEOs but also why our search didn’t turn up much.
We’re not sure about you, but around the VisualCue offices our NCAA basketball brackets have taken quite a beating this season. From surprise upsets (we’re looking at you, Kansas) to personal heartbreaks we will be watching the games this weekend and the championship game on the 4th with great interest.
In the spirit of March Madness we are proud to present our favorite basketball data visualizations that, if we were serious about making the best bracket possible, we should have consulted before we filled them out.