We are all guilty of this (me too!), but how many of us get stuck in our buzz words and can’t get out? I alluded to this yesterday when I mentioned customer carewords, but I wanted to expound on that thought a little bit …
“Data visualization” is just a fancy word for getting big tables full of numbers into a format that users can understand and act on. In short, data visualization makes information usable. Throwing data into a chart or “dashboard” makes it easy for someone to see exactly what the data really says. It’s hard to tell, looking at a row of numbers, whether things are getting better or worse. Are we making our sales quotas? Are support calls too long? How well are we serving our customers? Are there any bottlenecks in our process?
Data visualization platforms like Tableau, LogiXML and their free reporting tool Logi Report, and PivotLink (the one I’m looking at today) give users more usable and interactive views of their information. So users can explore relationships, see different views of things, and root out answers to their questions.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be business data, either. Scientists and researchers use data visualization a lot to help them uncover patterns and see results of a study. Most of us use weather maps and radar: another form of “data visualization”.
So what do users who want to see a visual picture of their information use for search terms? I am guessing it’s not “data visualization”. I know when I was searching for a tool like that, I knew exactly what I wanted, but I never thought of the words “data visualization”. (However, I’m pretty sure I’m not an average user–whatever that is.)
I wish I had some data on this to analyze … 😉
Other posts on Tableau and Data Visualization / Metrics / Reporting:
- Something to make Analysts wet their pants
- Update on Tableau Server
- Tableau adds Maps and Web Application Integration
- An Even Better (?) Data Visualization Tool — and it’s Free