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Why are visualisations important?

Video on why visualisations are important
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(lively music) (mouse clicking) There's an age-old saying, a picture is worth 1,000 words. There’s a reason why this phrase is a cliche. Because it’s true. In addition, there are countless studies to support this, concluding that humans are indeed visual creatures. They learn and comprehend better with visuals. Data experts believe that data is only as good as the way it’s presented. Any kind of data when presented well becomes valuable. Suppose, for example, here are some types of coffees you can find in a cafe. You will read their names and descriptions but might not comprehend the difference or trend among them.
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On the other hand, this visual clearly explains the changing trend in coffee’s quantity for every type, making it easier to comprehend. When we’re working with data, especially when there’s a lot of it in this game of big data, just pouring over endless lists of numbers can make it hard for us to figure out what parts of the data are actually useful. For example, this table here. Unless you’re a math whizz, the numbers probably don’t make much sense to you. On the contrary, what if you see this graph here instead?
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You can quite quickly see that this is an example of exponential growth. With visualisations, we can see thousands of days of data at once and also easily have a trendline calculated and added. Here is an example where we have figures from the Earth’s temperature going back hundreds of years. In this visualisation, we see the cyclical temperature over the year with outliers for hotter and colder days. With the extra trendline, we can also see that on average, temperatures are rising over time. Tableau is a powerful tool you can use to create such visuals. Want to check out some interactive visualisations created on Tableau? A visualisation by Priyanka Dophal.
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A visualisation by Josh Hughes.
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Don’t you think being able to present the data visually makes it more coherent and easier for non-data scientists to comprehend?
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These links are also available on the platform for you to refer.

Watch the video to explore some key examples and comparisons that would make you realise the importance of visualisations in general.

You can find the links to the interactive visualisations used in the video here. Think about these visualisations when you reflect on your own experiences with how data is presented:

Interact: Based on a true story[1]

Interact: The Rise of Nintendo Switch Sales[2]

Read the following article by Andy Cotgreave on Tableau to understand the importance of data storytelling in the years to come:

Read: The importance of data storytelling in the next decade of data[3]

After watching the video

Think of an incident in real life, when you were misguided or misled because although the data was communicated, it was not visually presented. Share in the comments for your fellow learners to respond and reflect.

References

  1. Dobhal P. Based on a true story [Graphic]. Tableau; 2020 Nov 24. Available from: https://public.tableau.com/en-gb/gallery/based-true-story?tab=viz-of-the-day&type=viz-of-the-day

  2. Hughes J. The Rise of Nintendo Switch Sales [Internet]. Tableau; 2020 Nov 11. Available from: https://public.tableau.com/en-gb/gallery/rise-nintendo-switch-sales?tab=viz-of-the-day&type=viz-of-the-day

  3. Cotgreave, A. The importance of data storytelling in the next decade of data [Internet]. Tableau; 2020 Aug 17. Available from: https://www.tableau.com/about/blog/2020/8/importance-data-storytelling-next-decade-data

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Data Visualisation with Python: Matplotlib and Visual Analysis

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