Most decision makers are bombarded with huge amounts of data on a regular basis, which can be difficult to understand because raw data is tough to interpret. By creating visuals out of the data, however, you can make it easier to digest and help people make data-driven decisions.
Data visualization is the process of representing data in a pictorial or a graphical format for better understanding of the information. According to Smashing Mashing, ‘the main goal of data visualization is to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means’.
In order to create the best data visuals, you need to invest in tools that make the task easier and fun. The latest and the most advanced data visualization tools are capable of solving complex queries without the use of SQL coding and can provide analytics in a wide variety of visual formats such as heatmaps, spider charts and sparklines.
Here are the top five data visualization tools that help present data in the most appealing format to enable better decision-making:
1. Tableau Public
Tableau Public is one of the most popular free data visualization tools that enables anyone to create appealing and interactive charts, graphs and maps. It works well with Microsoft Excel. Download Tableau Public and install it on your computer; then simply drag and drop the data into the tool to create interactive charts.
The tool also allows you to combine multiple charts on a ‘dashboard,’ including buttons that allow users to filter data. The charts created using Tableau can easily be embedded into a webpage.
The major advantages of Tableau Public include its compatibility with Excel workbooks and its ability to quickly and easily reformat charts and visualizations. It also allows users to collaborate with team members for quick project turnaround. To work with this tool, you can choose between the paid and free versions.
FusionCharts offers you the most extensive range of charts and maps. Choose from among 965 maps and over 90 charts to create out-of-the-box data visuals. The best thing about FusionCharts is that it works well with modern and older versions of browsers. Moreover, you get access to several business dashboards and live demos to formulate innovative ideas.
FusionCharts supports XML and JSON data formats, and allows users to export charts in JPEG, PNG, PDF, and other formats. The charts and maps created using FusionCharts are customizable and interactive, and work across all platforms and devices.
In order to take the full advantage of FusionCharts, you need to buy the paid version, which is a bit expensive compared to other data visualization tools. However, you can try the free version first and upgrade if you find it impressive.
3. Google Charts
Google Charts is yet another popular data visualization tool that offers charts in HTML5 or SVG formats to ensure cross-platform compatibility and portability to Android and iOS. It also offers charts in VML version for older IE versions.
Google Charts is user-friendly, flexible and allows users to choose from a range of highly interactive charts, graphs and tables. From simple line charts to complex hierarchical tree maps, you can access a number of readymade charts. This tool is completely free of cost.
Visual information creates a better impact on human beings compared to textual data. This is because 50 percent of the human brain is involved in visual processing. Moreover, color visuals increase the willingness to read by 80 percent. Another interesting study reveals that people remember 10 percent of what they hear, 20 percent of what they read and 80 percent of what they ‘see and do’. So by creating interesting and colorful visuals, you can attract attention quickly.
This is exactly what Visual.ly helps you do. It is a simple tool that helps you create compelling data representations so that you are able to tell stories and convey messages in a unique way. Its Google Analytics tool also sends users weekly reports in the form of infographics. With Visual.ly, you can create everything, from bar charts and graphs to 3D CATScans.
As far as pricing is concerned, infographics start at $3,000 USD and reports and presentations start from $3,500 USD.
If you need to create vector-based data visualizations, the best tool to use is Raw. When you visit its website, you see their tagline ‘the missing link between spreadsheets and vector graphics.’ It is well designed and has an extremely user-friendly interface, so even a newbie can use it without much trouble.
Users can choose from a set of 16 chart types and all the processing is done in the browser. The best thing about Raw is that it is customizable and extensible, and the data can be exported in SVG or PNG formats. You can also get them embedded into a webpage.
Data visualization aids storytelling which makes it easier for decision makers to make informed decisions. Even the layman can better understand as to how helpful your products or services can be. So, instead of presenting data in a raw, hard-to-digest format, present it in the form of charts, infographics, maps, etc. Data visualization is a must if you want to take your business to the next level. In order to create the most stunning and out-of-the-box graphs, charts and maps, make use of the above-mentioned five data visualization tools.