Decision Day 2013 Sneak Peek: Dare forma al Mondo con la Visualizzazione dei Dati

agosto 28, 2013

Quando compriamo o vendiamo una casa, un parametro ha un effetto fondamentale sul prezzo e sull'efficacia di qualunque transazione immobiliare. Sì, indovinato: location, location, location. La Visualizzazione dei Dati è basata su un principio simile e ugualmente importante: position, position, position.

Getting Rid of all the Noise

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to shape the world around your needs and only focus on the areas that have importance to you and your business? Who says you can’t?

The fundamental reason for developing Data Visualization is to communicate the facts in an efficient and compelling manner by stripping away all unnecessary noise and accentuate the most important data points.

As you know, I am particularly fascinated with Data Visualization via the use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) together with the TARGIT Decision Suite. Over the last few years, I have been researching new ways in which to un-complicate and unclutter business data using simple Data Visualization principles.

Position, Position, Position

When buying or selling a home, one parameter has an overwhelming effect on the price and effectiveness of any real estate transaction. Yeah, you’ve guessed it: location, location, location. Data Visualization has a similar and equally important principle: position, position, position. 

When displaying data, the physical position of data should be in an area that is easy to find and focus on. This gives the data a greater chance to make a full impact. In addition, the position that each data point has in relation to each other is equally important.

The problem

Let’s talk about data positions relative to one another. So here’s the problem: Your company has markets, departments, production, etc. in different countries, spanning different continents. So the below map, or something very much like it, would probably be the one you would use to measure each country’s performance in relation to another.

I know that with only, say, seven applicable countries, this could also be easily visualized using a vertical bar chart. However, as I have blogged about previously, people react faster to data presented in ways that are recognizable to them. So when working with geographical dimensions, a map is the most recognizable element.

You can see it is very hard to distinguish whether Japan, Italy, or USA is the best performing country. The reason for this comes from the fact that the eyes have to scan from one end of the screen to the other and are unable to focus on all areas at once, making it difficult to distinguish the different nuances in color.

The Solution

So, why don’t we just shape our own world? Filtering out all unnecessary countries and collecting the seven countries together on the same screen real estate, makes them easier to compare in relation to one another. So, now you can say with 100% certainty that Italy is the best performer out of all seven countries.

map 2

Job done! Well … not quite. 

Size does matter

Size of dimensional objects is another Data Visualization principle that makes a big difference to whether or not a Data Visualization is efficient at communicating the facts. On the pervious map, the overall feeling is that performance is good. This is partly due to the fact that the U.S. takes up almost half the screen and the overwhelming color is green. However, only three out of seven countries are green, meaning that four countries are not performing as well as expected. By simply making the countries all the same size, you can clearly see that the overall performance is below the standard expected. 

map 3
Job done! Well … still not quite. 

Prioritizing is the key

Aligning dimensional objects in the order of importance for your business from left to right, is another Data Visualization technique that helps communicate data more precisely. On the previous map, the United Kingdom’s performance is clearly the worst of all seven countries. However, in relation to a business strategy that considers Denmark, France, and the U.S. as its focus countries, the United Kingdom should not be as prominent. By aligning the countries by importance from left to right, it is easier to get an overall overview of performance that will affect the business strategies outcome. 

map 4
So by following some simple Data Visualization principles and techniques you can go from a Data Visualization that is cluttered and difficult to obtain any useful insights, to a Data Visualization that delivers insights that will benefit the business in a more concise and efficient way.

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David Hollinsworth

Senior BI Consultant
During my journey as Business Intelligence consultant, I have experienced my fair share of BI tools. Nevertheless, it was not until my first meeting with TARGIT that I truly found my calling. My first impression of TARGIT Business Intelligence was, "it can't be this easy to create good looking and powerful analytics." You could say that it was love at first sight. As..
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