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Data Points: Visualization That Means Something by Nathan Yau

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Introduction

What is good visualization? It is a representation of data that helps you see what you otherwise would have been blind to if you looked only at the naked source. It enables you to see trends, patterns, and outliers that tell you about yourself and what surrounds you. The best visualization evokes that moment of bliss when seeing something for the first time, knowing that what you see has been right in front of you, just slightly hidden. Sometimes it is a simple bar graph, and other times the visualization is complex because the data requires it.

The Process

A data set is a snapshot in time that captures something that moves and changes. Collectively, data points form aggregates and statistical summaries that can tell you what to expect. These are your means, medians, and standard deviations. They describe the world, countries, and populations and enable you to compare and contrast things. When you push down on the data, you get details about the individuals and objects within the population. These are the stories that make a data set human and relatable.

Data in an abstract sense that includes information and facts is the foundation of every visualization. The more you understand about the source and the stronger base that you build, the greater the potential for a compelling data graphic. This is the part that a lot of people miss: Good visualization is a winding process that requires statistics and design knowledge. Without the former, the visualization becomes an ...

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