Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Art of Data Visualization Reflection



This topic of data visualization definitely interests me a lot because I am an Information Systems major and focus a great portion of my time gathering data, processing data, and analyzing data to draw conclusions or make inferences about why something is a certain way.  The act of mining data for company use is an extremely lucrative business today.  Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and many others operate as successful businesses based on the sole practice of mining personal data from its users and selling it to other companies interested in targeting a certain market.  Companies rarely make business decisions from raw data alone, meaning data that has not been processed for use, because it is time consuming and confusing to sift through each individual piece of data.  Therefore, business intelligence companies process raw data to create information that can be used by businesses to develop new marketing campaigns and hopefully increase profits.  Business intelligence companies package data in a way that is visually appealing to its customers so that they feel more comfortable looking at the data and ultimately using the data to make informed decisions.  For example, these companies might use bar charts with different colors to show the breakdown of product sales in different stores across the country.  These individual store owners could then look at these graphs and decide whether to keep stocking certain products in the store or discontinue those products altogether.  Data visualization is all around us.  Rather than looking at the battery percentage on our phones or laptops, we might just look at the little battery in the corner to see how full it is.  I have a fitness app that breaks down the macros I eat in a day in a useful pie chart that is color coded.  I really liked the last saying in the YouTube video that we usually see things to confirm things, but we should actually see things to learn things.