Evolving Analytics: The Power of Visualization

by Steve Kerr

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We have all experienced, on some level, the power of visualization. Whether it is taking in the breath-taking view of your favorite city’s skyline, looking at timeless pieces of art at your local museum, or even flipping through a child’s pop-up book; the vast majority of us are intrigued and fascinated by being able to look at visually-appealing stimuli and readily determine what the organization or structure of that stimuli means to us.

The latest psychological research on the matter says that 65% of people are primarily visual learners, meaning that they are essentially biologically wired to easily pick up information and analyze it with their eyes. According to Neil Fleming, one of the world’s leading research experts in education-based learning, most people are a combination of visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners; where visual learners often associate the things they learn with the images they saw when they first learned the material.

Not only are 65% of people visual learners, research also indicates that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Not to mention that visuals are processed at an amazing 60,000 (yes, that many zeros) times faster in the brain than text.

What does this all mean to analytics leaders throughout the world? It means that in order to drive insights into action more efficiently, we need to be aware of how we are presenting the vast amount of data we have collected, cleaned, and analyzed to death (trust me, this process can be quite formidable) so that our target audience can really “see” the insights, the pieces of invaluable information which they can then use to formulate, improve, and benchmark strategy.

It seemed like just yesterday that we relied solely on Microsoft Excel charts and graphs to guide our decisions; as we gain more and more access to vast amounts of collectable data, the ability to not only analyze that data, but also visualize it in a meaningful and relevant way becomes paramount.

This is the Power of Visualization in the Evolution of Analytics; and it is only just the beginning.

I don’t know about you, but I am excited for what the future brings.

Finally, here is a link to some of the best visualizations from 2014 (per flowingdata.com).

Enjoy!

Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr

Senior Analytics Manager