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Using Data Visualization for Innovative Communication

Data Visualization Chart of Health Costs

Data is everywhere. Many of us collect data on a daily basis. From library statistics to personal records, data can be used to help us better understand our environment and make informed decisions. While data is vital to helping us make decisions, sometimes interpreting that data is difficult. While spreadsheets and data lists provide access to information, seeing patterns can be difficult. In many cases a visual representation of the data can be used to better demonstrate what the data is saying. When presenting library statistics to the board or when reviewing your weight loss, a visual representation of the data can help you or your audience understand what the data is telling you.

Data visualization helps us better use data to tell a story and connect with an audience. While many of us think of charts and graphs for data visualization, new technologies including advanced information graphics and mapping are taking data visualization to a new level. Newspapers such as the New York Times have been using data visualizations to add relevance to their news pieces and engage their readers. Many of these visualizations are online information graphics which can be manipulated by the reader. Try the tools in the New York Times Visualization Lab to get a feel for creating visual representations of data and information.

Explore these top 10 data visualization projects of the year to see how data visualization is changing the way we understand and interact with data. The blog Read, Write, Web also shares 3 Tips for Engaging Online Communities with Data Visualization.

When sharing health information, data visualization can be a powerful tool. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently begun using data visualization to share health information through their eHealth Marketing campaign. The commercial project from GE, Healthymagination, makes health data visualizations available on their website Visualizing Data.

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