Creating a new generation of data to solve social problems.
A recent blog post at GOOD touched on a key concept in the design of effective data visualization:
“Every form of visualization should tell a story. Unfortunately there is limited attention and time to process all the stories. So the gist of the story, or its immediate impact, should be visible right away. The term I like to use for this principle is “glanceability.” What does a visualization tell us before we take time to analyze it?”
As you ponder the myriad ways in which you might use data to help tell a story, be it in a PowerPoint presentation to the board, a marketing piece on a website, a sidebar in an annual report, etc., consider the user. If they want to interperet the data on their own, you can just give them a data set. But you're using the data to tell them a story. The visualization is your medium for doing that. If you weren’t there, would your story tell itself?
Analysts exist because data, by itself, doesn’t tell the story. Visualization is a powerful method of conveying your conclusion so that they are quickly and easily understood. A good visualization is worth a 1,000 words. If you find that have to include the 1,000 words for your visualization to be understood, consider a different approach.