Hospitals and private practices are also utilizing data visualization tools, which has led to predicting big-picture patterns easier and sooner, giving patients and doctors a better understanding of unique health trends. It’s also been reported that visualizing large sets of data from multiple sources has helped identify diagnostic errors and even lower operational costs (5, 6).
Data visualization specialists at the University of Michigan’s Center for Academic Innovation have been utilizing “data visualization tools to create an interactive dashboard for faculty to explore learner feedback and understand the demographic composition of their students” (7).
In addition to better interpreting student feedback and demographic information, students can also monitor their academic trends and of course utilize data visualization tools to better understand their own field of study.
According to a 2019 article published in the Strategy & Organizational Behavior eJournal, Data visualization is strengthening information literacy by giving students and faculty an easier way to understand large data driven trends. The article also points out how “higher education is shifting towards data-informed decision-making” leading to a growing need to build data capacity and information literacy in higher education. Data visualization is the catalyst, a lynchpin, and a necessary resource for tying together and conveying big data in a culture that is becoming more data driven (8).
Remember the stat on how much data American users generate per minute? If your mind wasn’t blown by that statistical nugget, the IDC estimates a worldwide creation of 180 zettabytes of data (or 180 trillion gigabytes) by 2025 (9). Uhm… Yeah, thats a lot of data.
Finding meaningful information in a sea of data that large makes finding a needle in a haystack look like fun, weekend child’s play. This is where data visualization makes a huge impact. In an article from Dataversity.net, Kevin McGirl outlines three broad areas where the visualization of big data helps big businesses: (10)
Clarifying customer trends
Unifying the business vision
Microsoft Analytics Partner, SR Analytics, echoes this sentiment purporting that data visualization aids facilitate quicker decisions, improve focus, personalize data interactions, and even improve internal collaboration and communication (11).
Network giant Verizon Wireless reported that by using a popular data visualization tool, they were able to reduce customer support calls by 43%. They also stated that by creating over 1,500 customized visual interfaces, they were able to cut customer service analysis time by 50% across their call center, digital, and dispatch teams (12).
Programming and data visualization
There is an ever increasing number of off-the-shelf software solutions for data visualization. The question is, how unique are your needs and how custom are your data visualization goals Custom software developers can create just about ANYTHING, so you don’t have to try and fit your square business problem into the circular hole of off-the-shelf software options. Instead, you can say exactly what you hope to accomplish and have a custom, automated software solution created that matches it perfectly.
In terms of data visualization, your company’s database architecture and system integrations play a huge factor and must be considered. Custom developers can actually determine down to the programming language itself, what would best suit a company’s needs. A team of experienced back-end developers along with world class visual designers can make the difference you may or may not have realized you needed. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to custom software development and as it relates to visualizing a large amount of information, the time to consider these options is now. Visualizations can be the difference in having the information and truly understanding it. It is the method to tell a story rather than just show information. When communicating information to your users, you want to make sure that the intended results are clear, understandable, and help your software provide what they are seeking in an easy to understand package.
The use of data visualization dates back farther than we can say, but researchers can point to the oldest geologic map we’ve discovered, which accurately depicts geological resources visually and conveys information on the quarrying of nearby resources (13). That’s a good usage of data! One could say that humans realized a long time ago the importance of data visualization, but no human could’ve predicted the way in which visualizing information would shape businesses, healthcare, society, and the way in which cultures around the world make decisions.