Often times we find ourselves asking this question: how do we make sense of all of this data surrounding us? We are struggling with information overload. Luckily, there is an easy solution to this, and that is simply using our eyes more. What do I mean by this? I mean taking the data that we already have and creating a piece of art with it. By visualizing information, we can see the patterns and the connections that matter. Rather than spitting all of your numbers on one page, design the information so that it makes more sense, tells a story, or allows us to focus on the information that’s most important. You can think of data visualizations as a map of information- telling you what numbers mean, where they belong, and why they matter. When you’re lost in an abundance of information, you’d be surprised how helpful an information map can be. Finding patterns in the data brings energy and excitement; often times excitement from patterns that you cannot find without visualizations. Data is this new resource that we have, and with it, we can shape and provide new information and new resources. It’s a creative medium. With that said, it goes beyond just putting your whole data set on a graph and calling it a day. To realize the patterns and stories within the data, you must play around with it and work the facts in a certain way. That is when interesting things can appear and different patterns can be revealed. Information is beautiful; data is beautiful. We are all visualizers and demand a visual aspect to our information, and there is something so magical about visual information- it’s effortless. It can just pour in and is unconscious. If you combine the language of the eye with the language of the mind, you begin to speak two languages at the same time, both enhancing each other. Visualization also has the ability to give you the whole picture- something that a single analyzed variable may not. Data visualization is living- once the data is cleaned and ready, you can change the information and filter between what is relevant and not. Information design is about solving information problems- from information overload to the lack of transparency and beyond. It can give us a very quick solution to those problems. Academic and statistician Hans Rosling says it best, “let the dataset change your mindset”.
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