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Archive for May, 2009

More on data visualization

Posted by Brad Greene on May 27, 2009

A few months back I wrote about the aesthetics of information, or information visualization, and how it is a vital part of getting your reports (charts and presentations, etc.) to be more effective. I’m always on the look out for tools and articles on the topic so this posting is just a nod to a couple things I’ve seen and liked lately in the area of data visualization.

First, to Stephen Few at Perceptual Edge. I recieved an older white paper he had written for Cognos on the principals of viusal communication that led me to his web site, which of course is his business storefront. Of interest is a nice list of articles and other white papers here. He includes both articles of his own as well as from other authors on the topic. I like his style of writing and he seems to keep an open mind and avoid stating absolutes. I have not had a chance to read many of his articles but the few I have read lead me to think he is a real champion of data visualization.

My experience has been that most BI developers don’t understand the importance of visual design in the their work. The tendency is to brush it off as “eye wash” or leave it for the end users to bring up in user acceptance testing. I’m biased perhaps because my educational background in architecture included the visual as a key element in every “deliverable”. Communicating with the eye in that field is essential. I don’t see it any other way in BI when part of a deliverable includes something more than lists and cross tabs.

Lastly, a nod to a company getting some buzz lately is Lyzasoft. People are blogging about them and there are some lively discussions. I have not had a chance to check them out beyond getting a feel for where they sit in the broad spectrum of BI. Sounds like they sit somewhere between Tableau and QlikView. I’ll have to add them to my list of tools to try after my very positive experience with Tableau a few months back. From what I’ve read I don’t expect them to be that advanced in visualization though.

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