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.
This 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
Information Visualization: example Radar Chart
Concept Visualization: example Argument Slide
Strategy Visualization: example Fishbone Diagram
Metaphor Visualization: example Tree
Compound Visualization: example Knowledge Map