Data representation and visualization
Data representation is the form in which data is processed, stored, retrieved, and transmitted from one device to another. Data cannot be fed into or processed by computers using human language; it has to be converted into binary form i.e. machine readable form, the language the computer understands. Data representation enables computer to understand the information entered in them for effective analysis.
Visualization on the other hand is the process of presenting data in a graphical or pictorial format, for the purpose of decision making. Because of the way our brains process information, using graphs and charts to visualize complex data makes it easier for us to understand it, than when it is represented in reports or spreadsheets. Let’s look at each of these terms in detail.
The concept of data representation
As stated, any type of data (numbers, special symbols, letters, pictures, or sounds) must be converted to a language a computer understands. For this reason, it is essential that we understand how computers and their peripheral devices handle data.
Data representation in digital circuits
Electronic components like the microprocessor consists of millions and millions of electronic circuits. When there is a high voltage in the circuit, the availability of this high voltage is interpreted as “1” and when there is a low voltage, it is interpreted as “0”. Basically, this concept is similar to switching an electric circuit on and off. When we close the switch, the high voltage present in the circuit lights the bulb (“1”state) and when we open the switch, the voltage in the circuit reduces causing the bulb to go off (“0” state). This technically describes how data is represented in computers using binary numbers.
Until now, there is no computer device that can directly understand natural language, perhaps due to the intricacy of natural languages. All data must be transformed to a binary system format for computers to understand. Another reason binary numbers have proven more effective in digital devices is that they are small, use less energy, and are more reliable than analog systems. If you are having trouble understanding the basics of data representation, do not hesitate to contact our data representation and visualization online tutors for guidance.
Irrespective of the industry or size, all businesses today are using data visualization to enable better understanding of their data and to help make sense of it. But to get the right results, the right visualizations must be used. Here are some of the tools that can make visualization effective:
- Scatter plots
- Time series sequences
- Polar area diagram
- Line graphs
- Ring charts
- Tree diagrams
- Sunburst diagrams
- Node-link diagrams
- Matric charts
- Alluvial diagrams
- Word clouds
- Pie charts
- Stacked bar graphs
- Venn diagrams
- Density map
- Flow map
- Heat map
Importance of data visualization
- Understanding information quickly: Graphical representations allow us to see large and complex data in a clear, cohesive way and draw conclusions from it easily. And since analyzing data graphically is much faster than analyzing it in spreadsheets, we are able to answer questions and solve problems in a timelier manner.
- Identifying relationships and patterns: Even the most complex data can start to make sense when analyzed graphically. With data visualization, businesses can recognize patterns and trends in information, enabling them to pay more attention to areas that are most likely to affect their most essential goals.
- Communicating new insights easily: Data visualization enables better and easier communication of business insights to others. Graphs, charts, and other visual analytics make presentations more engaging, which helps get the message across faster.
How to visualize data effectively
Before visualizing your data, you need to have a good understanding of it, your goals, and the needs of the audience. Here are a few things you need to do to achieve a great data visualization:
- Study and analyze the data you are visualizing. Make sure you understand its size and uniqueness.
- Identify exactly what you want to visualize and the kind of information you want to relay to your audience
- Understand your audience and how they process visual information
- Make sure your visuals convey the information in the simplest form and the best way possible to your audience.
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