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A Tool to Help Visualize Your Data: the Periodic Table of Visualization Methods

Is a table worth a thousand words?  Sometimes you need an understandable and memorable diagram that will illustrate what you are trying to say.  This Periodic Table of Visualization Methods http://www.visual-literacy.org/periodic_table/periodic_table.html# (a resource from Visual-Literacy.org http://www.visual-literacy.org/) provides examples of 100 visualization methods.

Periodic Table of Visualization MethodsThis table is not just a cool looking list of visualization methods, but it also uses the format that we are familiar with from the Periodic Table of Elements to organize the visualization techniques into different types and purposes.

For example, the chart is color coded from yellow to purple. The colors represent different kinds of visualization types: Data Visualization; Information Visualization; Concept Visualization; Strategy Visualization; Metaphor Visualization; and Compound Visualization (examples below).  Scrolling over each box in the Table will bring a pop-up window with an example in it.

In addition, several other pieces of information about the methods are contained in this table.  There are icons that show if the visualization method is process visualization (depicting a temporal sequence) or structure visualization (depicting conceptual relationships), and whether the different methods show macro patterns (overview) or micro patterns (detail), and finally whether the methods demonstrate divergent or convergent thinking. These can help you determine whether this visualization technique might be right for you.

Here are some examples from each of the main categories of visualization methods:

Data Visualization: example Area Chart

Data Visualization: Area Chart

Information Visualization: example Radar Chart

Information Visualization: Radar Chart Cobweb

Concept Visualization: example Argument Slide

Concept Visualization: Argument Slide

Strategy Visualization: example Fishbone Diagram

Strategy Visualization: Fishbone Diagram

Metaphor Visualization: example Tree

Metaphor Visualization: Tree

Compound Visualization: example Knowledge Map

Compound Visualization: Knowledge Map

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