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.

Best Tools for Data Visualization

There has been a huge explosion of data visualization tools. So many have cropped up, in fact, that it can be difficult to keep track of them all.

Luckily, hardworking data visualization enthusiasts have already done a lot of the leg work. Two of those data visualization experts are Brian Suda and Sam Hampton-Smith and their list of the top 38 tools for data visualization.

The thing we love most about their list is how comprehensive it is. In addition to some of the standard options like Tableau and Exhibit their list contains dozens of other options for the novice data visualization enthusiast. It seems that there are options out there for every possible scenario: if you need to create a timeline, a map, a heat map, a diagram- no matter what you could possibly need, there seems to be a tool out there that you can use to get the job done.

But more than just listing out the tools, Suda and Hampton-Smith went a step further and described what they liked best about each one from their perspective as data visualization experts.

What struck us were the common elements they loved about a lot of the tools they discussed, and got us wondering “what if you could combine all of those tools into a single platform- what would happen then?”

A common thread

A Common Thread

Looking at their descriptions, we were able to come up with a pretty good idea of what such a platform would need to include in order to be so robust that it could turn anyone into a data visualization expert.

Suda and Hampton-Smith used the following words in their description of the first 5 data visualization tools on their list.

1. Responsive

2. Real time

3. Customizable

4. Fast

5. Interactive

Looking through the rest of the data visualization tools and their descriptions we see these five words, or words that hit on the same ideas, crop up again and again.

And when you think about it, those five aspects make complete sense. If a single tool were to have all of these features then ideally anyone, regardless of training, could quickly find their way around and create the meaningful data visualizations necessary to analyze any size data set, large or small, and gain meaningful insights out of it.

We are working hard to create just such a platform, as are other companies and organizations passionate about the future of information. We’re excited to continue along that path and work towards a future where anyone, with the right approach and a little technology, can become a data expert.

Until next time,
The VisualCrew