The DataHero Blog

The Future of Data Visualization

July 9th, 2015

We’re seeing cheaper and more reliable ways to store data than ever before, which means we’re all seeing far more of it than ever before. This is why professions like data scientist are booming and the desire for “data-driven marketers” is on the uptick. Data visualization is the obvious answer to turning all of that data into actual usable information that will drive a business forward. We’ve already seen so many game-changing progressions in data visualization, where will the future take us? We’ve compiled a few predictions.

Better Tools

With this prevalence of data access comes a need for data tools to become more approachable and easier to use. These tools need to not only connect to “less traditional” data sources like cloud services, but also to be intuitive and even guide a user through the data visualization process. Business users should be able to keep their high-level questions in mind and allow the tool to do the heavy lifting on the analysis part. A tool that allows users to stay within the strategic mindset is a necessity for data visualization moving forward. This way business users can focus more on questions like “how does my marketing spend in Google AdWords contribute to the most closed deals?” rather than spend time Googling questions like “how do I calculate percentage change?”

Data Visualization For All

With these newer, easier-to-use tools comes the ability for everyone, from the data-savvy to the data-averse to visualize information that pertains to their specific business needs. It’s no longer necessary to go directly to a database to pull out information that your department needs. This ability for everyone within an organization to access and visualize their data gives the over-burdened IT teams a break and allows them to focus on other mission-critical questions within the data.

More Common Chart Types

With the increasing literacy in data analysis comes an increasing comfort with various chart types. Certain subsets of data may need more complex chart types to communicate ideas about the underlying data effectively. Charts such as treemaps or bubble charts will address that increasing complexity of data represented.

Increase in Interactivity/Animation

Interactivity and animation within data analysis encourages exploration and discovery of a certain dataset. It not only encourages discovery for the individual publishing the dataset/visualization, but also for the individuals viewing that information. They can draw their own conclusions and make their own connections. this again supports the idea of democratization of data visualization. Interactivity and animation, if used discerningly, can also help with UI/UX to guide the user along a particular path towards a common goal.

Portable Data

Google reported that 48% of all its traffic in 2014 came through mobile. As we all become more mobile in general, the expectations are that users should be able to access any information they need on the go, from a mobile device. This portability extends to data as well. In fact, mobile dashboards can help individuals like sales reps make data-driven decisions as they’re on the go.

 

It’s difficult to predict exactly how data visualization will change in the coming years, but there are certainly some aspects of visualization that will grow. One thing is for certain, data visualization will only become more prominent as our access to data continues to grow.

By Kelli Simpson

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