The Ultimate Guide to Data Visualization
08-Apr-2019Views 870

We can't bear the ugly Excel charts anymore. Big data is a crucial aspect of almost every company and we need to understand them better. Data visualization tools are here to help this process. You can translate thousands of numbers into nice and simple graphs. From drag-and-drop tools to javascript libraries, here is everything you need to know about how to create amazing graphs and charts.


A day in the life of Americans

DATA VISUALIZATION RESOURCES

Creating a nice visualization is not a nice-to-have, but an integral part of the process. Many companies still have no idea how to create clear and interactive graphs to easily understand their data. So, working to improve the visualization aspect of your job can really put you ahead of other candidates and can help your company to grow faster than its competitors.

And honestly, we don't want to see anything like this anymore.

data visualization 1 How can you even call this a graph? Source: data is ugly on reddit.

You can take some inspiration from The Pudding and FiveThirtyEight, two magazines that made interactive data visualization their forte.

In Singapore, the Straits Times is the leader in the sector. Its data journalism articles are incredibly nice and extremely playful. Here is the latest one about the Marvel universe, for example. But you can find many more articles here.

Other online resources include Data Is Beautiful and Data Art on Reddit. And you can also take part in some local meetups, like for example Hacks and Hackers and Data Vis.

data visualization 2 The interactive Marvel Universive article by the Straits Times.

DATA VISUALIZATION TOOLS

NO CODING REQUIRED

Tableau Public

Price: free

Tableau Public is one of the most famous visualization tools. It's very simple to use with its drag-and-drop system. You can easily create dashboards and graphs to share on your blog, social media channels, or whitepapers. It's optimized to visualize data from different devices and it's mobile friendly. In addition, it integrates with several data sources, including Hadoop, Amazon AWS, My SQL, SAP, and Teradata. The only issue with this tool might be that you can't share the files privately, but you have to publish it first on their cloud.

JAVASCRIPT LIBRARIES

D3

Price: Free

D3 is an online JavaScript library for manipulating and visualizing data. It uses HTML, SVG, and CSS to create interactive diagrams and charts from different data sources. Luckily, there are many tutorials in the forum, so you can learn how to use this tool reading the online guides. D3 is not easy to use, but it allows you to create complicated visualizations and customize them as you like. It is for sure one of the best tools when it comes to data-driven real-time interactivity.

Plot.ly

Price: Free (with premium options)

Plot.ly is a tool based on D3's Javascript libraries. It allows creating sophisticated visualizations, thanks to its integration with programming languages such as Python, R, and Matlab. Plotly is a very user-friendly platform that gets you started in a few minutes. The graphs and charts you can create here are simply amazing. The design is for sure one of the things that make this tool stand out from the others.

Sigma js

Price: Free

Sigma is a Javascript library dedicated to graph drawing. It makes easy to publish networks on your blogs and websites. This is a perfect tool to add interactivity to your data, in fact, its plugin assortment is massive. The two data formats supported are JSON and GEXF. It's very customizable and you can play around with how to interact with the networks you create. Sigma js offers public API, so you can modify whatever you want and create exactly what you need.

R LIBRARY

ggplot2

Price: Free

ggplot2 is a data visualization platform that uses R as the main programming language. It's over 10 years old and it's used by hundreds of millions of people to make plots. Since it's quite an old platform, it's easy to find tutorials on the website and you can create several unique and colorful designs. As a first impression, it seems quite plain, but it comes with lots of extensions to allow you to do whatever design you have in mind.

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