Our eyes easily recognise colours and shapes. We quickly identify from green to yellow, triangle to circle. Pictures and visuals of any kind have more impact on readers than word reading as images get tied to the memories quicker.

This is the age of big data. Trillions of data are generated every day and if we stared at massive data in spreadsheet we would not see a trend, however if the data is in a visualised form, it could be easily interpreted and understandable.

“There is a magic in graphs. The profile of a curve reveals in a flash a whole situation — the life history of an epidemic, a panic, or an era of prosperity. The curve informs the mind, awakens the imagination, convinces.” – Henry D. Hubbard

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A good visualization tells a story highlighting the useful information and removing the unwanted information. Data visualisation is needed in every field be it government, education, finance, marketing, history, consumer goods, service industries, education, sports etc and there are data visualisation tools used to present that data.

Hence, any tool which helps us in meaningfully visualise data is called a Data Visualisation Tool.

Data visualisation is an art dealing with great analysis and presentation.

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Being skilled at drawing was necessary for the purpose of visualizations back hundreds of years ago when we did not have computers to draw things for us.

Nowadays, there are lots of tools to visualize data. Most of them are javascript libraries because the power of modern web browsers allows creating magnificent visuals with some imagination. Henry harvin data Science

Data analysis and Data visualisation:-

Data analysis is the process of converting raw data into information. Patterns in the data are identified and predictions, decisions, and strategies are made accordingly. A simplified data set can be extracted as an output of this analysis. This can more easily be achieved with correct data Science course visualization tools. So, clear and simple visuals can be used to represent focused information from a large data set.

Importance of data visualisation

  • It occupies lesser space. Millions of data in number form require more space as compared to charts.
  • The use of a correct chart or display can help to create an immediate and effective impact.
  • Trends, charts, patterns, dashboard charts etc. help in providing a clear understanding;
  • Trends and patterns help in quick and efficient decision making.

Data visualization Techniques

There are multiple data visualization techniques and the efficacy of a particular technique depends on the user’s need. So, it can be safely said that there is not a single standard data visualization technique. The use of common charts, running analysis, fancy User Interface (UI) designs are some of the simpler and commonly used techniques. There are many more techniques available to us to deal with big and complex data nowadays. However, in choosing the correct technique, help can be taken from the following tips:

  • Know the audience and purpose – What is required from the charts or graphs;
  • Choose the right chart type, For different kinds of data different charts, are needed and it is important to choose the correct chart.
  • Use colours- use of contrast colours to highlight categories and complementary colours to emphasize differences in the same category.
  • Do not underestimate the power of words/text.
  • Use size and thickness for grouping
  • Group your data concerning similarities and differences

Looking forward to becoming a Data Scientist? Check out the Data Science Bootcamp Program and get certified today.

Data visualisation tools

Data visualisation tools play an interesting role in the software testing world as it includes both designing and analysis.

  1. Whatagraph (https://whatagraph.com) :- It is integrated with the top digital marketing platforms such as google analytics, facebook advertisements, mail chimp etc. Its best feature is that it is based on pay per use model thus becoming cost effective.

The platform has customised products that can be used to create the user’s own way of representing data including cross platform analysis of data in simple way. It can create report of different marketing platforms and their performance in one report. It has automated report creation and delivery and customization through logo and branding of each report will give a more personalised touch to the report.

It also provides a feature for creating info-graphic reports. 

  1. Tableau Desktop (www.tableau.com) – It is a business intelligence software that helps people see and understand data. It is faster in analytics and connects and visualize data in minutes. It can work on big data spreadsheets, database hadoop and cloud services.

Data gets automatically updated at a given schedule if Tableau is having a live connection with the data. Other advantages are that it is very easy to use as it can be used by drag and drop method and no programming is needed and only insight is required. It also provides multiple ways to look at the data to get a different perspective.

  1. Sisence (www.sisense.com)  :-  The platform turns Data into data products. It has an in-built analytics with full customization and private labelling that are secure and scalable. It can be used to analyse the entire complex data and represents as visualisations and actionable components. It gives option to deploy. An ideal deployment strategy can be chosen, be it windows or linux , staying on prem, supporting the cloud-based strategy or opting for hybrid approach.

Anyone can use this as no level of mastery is required. It has smart suggestive techniques and intuitive visual interface thus making it an easy use tool. Also, it helps in taking business decisions and drive change with deep insights and gives answers to complicated questions. It has different levels of security based on role, access and usage. It is available in a free trial version and a licensed version.

  1. AdaptiveDiscovery (https://www.adaptiveplanning.com/products/analytics-and-dashboards) :- It helps in creating financial plans with less stress and less time in a budget. Business is dynamic and to run a business proper planning and forecasting is required, and this is the focus of this tool which can be used by anyone. It helps in preparing a world class model to stay ahead in finance, sales and reporting.

It also provides and updates management reports with Microsoft office suite and Office Connect. It can be easily connected to ERP, HCM, CRM, and other data sources, thus providing an easy, fast, reliable and accurate business planning.

  1. Teammate analytics (www.teammatesolutions.com) :- This tools is very good for audit analysis. It has around 150 audit tools that allow all auditors to perform powerful data analysis to deliver significant value for their teams and client’s organisation. It is a user-friendly tool that can handle tens of millions of data without having to leave the comfort of excel and can be used without much training. It can be used to give powerful insight to reduce risk and create opportunity and save money. The platform can be run on complex data or simple data cleanup it gets past through a click.

It can be used by auditors of all levels. It is designed to be intuitive performing calculations, detecting gaps in sequence items, comparing missing records and quick visualisation of data for analysis or reporting. It is available in a free trial version and a licensed version.

  1. Jupyter (www.jupyter.org) :- A Jupyter notebook is open source web application through which can be used to create and share documents that have visualizations text equations and live codes. It gives control over readers experience in a secure and customizable interactive dashboard.

The notebook supports over 40 programming languages. It is used to leverage big data tools, such as Apache Spark, from Python, R and Scala and explore that same data with pandas, scikit-learn, ggplot2, TensorFlow..

            It is an open-source platform.

  1. Dundas (www.dundas.com) :- It is very famous and a reliable tool. It empowers the masses with modern analytics. It is one of the more flexible dashboard, reporting and analytics platform with your applications. It is a user friendly software having a built in visual data preparation smart visuals and advance data tools. It also gives 100% control for complete customization as it provides white label feature. However, this platform does not help in predictive analysis and also does not support 3D analysis.

It is available in a free trial version and a one-time licensed version that has a subscription-based pricing model.

  1. Inforgram (www.infogram.com) :-It is a web-based data visualization and info-graphics tool that permits users to create and share digital charts, infographics and maps. It has more than 35 charts and 550 maps to help to visualize data. There are more than 20 templates or user’s own brand can be created with own customized logo, colours, themes and fonts. It also has 1 million images and icons and easy drag and drops editor to help in making the data presentation better. Data visualizations can be exported in high-quality PNG, PDF, or GIF formats to share on social media or embed using our interactive HTML option.

It is available in a free trial version and a licensed version. The basic version of this tool is free of cost while the Pro versions costs $19/month, the Business version costs $67/month and the Team version is priced at $149/month. The price for the Enterprise version is available on request only

  1. Google Charts (https://developers.google.com/chart) :- It has a USP to display live data on the site. A powerful yet simple and free to use data tool with rich gallery of charts including simple scatter plots to hierarchy tree maps. A rare feature offered by lesser software a three years   backward compatibility guarantee on using the same chart tools as Google users. An option to customize visualization as per the website is available. An interactive dashboard connecting data in a real time basis is also available. It provides cross-browser compatibility and no plug-ins is needed. It is a free of cost tool.

  1. Visme (www.visme.co) :- It is a versatile content creation tool, relatively for smaller business users. It is a good tool to share information in a much more visual and user friendly way and it also has team features as it organises teams into groups and sets permission by roles for editing the data thus tracking who is accessing and who is editing the data.

The basic version of this tool is free. Apart from this, it has 3 paid versions – Single user ($ 25/month), Team ($ 75/month) and Enterprise (price upon request). These versions vary based on the number of users, download options, projects, etc. A free trial version is also available.

  1. DOMO (www.domo.com/company) :-  A Business Interface leveraged to cloud-scale in record time tool. Integration of data can be done from thousands of sources, turns data into live visualizations and extends Business Interface directly into workflows and applications quick access of data from any source. It is fully mobile and can be operated from the phone as well. It can easily plugin into an existing system and provides immediate value by making data consumable with prebuilt apps and tools. It also provides security and governance of data. It is a not so user-friendly tool and is not for beginners.

The pricing is annual subscription-based and has 3 versions – starter, professional and enterprise. Starter version is free and rest two are paid versions. A free trial is also available.

  1. Cluvio (www.cluvio.com) :- Itis a cloud-based analytical platform for start-ups and data-driven teams. It uses SQL and R to analyse data and create beautiful, interactive dashboards. It is simple and easy to use. A free trial version is available.

  1. TapClicks (www.tapclicks.com) :- It focuses on marketing operations and performance analytics. It also communicates and collaborates with clients via an online dashboard. It provides task and workflow management for advertisement operations, billing and fulfilment. It captures orders automatically from CRM opportunities, preventing miscommunication between Sales and Operations by entering objective and goals right at the point of sale.

It is a Competitive Intelligence platform as it gives visibility of competitors SEM market positioning against the local SEM competitors in their verticals, and identify their unseen weaknesses so you can build winning proposals to close more deals. It is a simple, yet detailed, reporting and dashboards designed for busy marketers. It integrates with 30+ data sources. It is an automation tool leading to save time and money.

Multipleversions are available – small Biz, Start, Grow, Thrive and lead.

The basic version starts at $39/month upto $399/month. It is mainly intended for small companies. A free trial version is also available.

  1. Microsoft Power BI (https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/) :- Developed by Microsoft, it connects to and visualize any data using the unified, scalable platform for self-service and enterprise business intelligence (BI) that’s easy to use and helps you gain deeper data insight. It is used to bridge gaps between data and decision making and it provides visual display of data thus giving an insight at scale and helping in strategic actionable decision.

It has 2 pricing plans- the first one Power BI Pro costs $9.99/user/month and other Power BI Premium $4995/year. The good news is that it is available in both free and paid(pro) versions.

  1. Zoho Analytics (www.zoho.com/analytics/) :- A business intelligence, reporting and analytics software creating a visually appealing data visualizations and insightful dashboards in minutes. It connects to any data source, wherever the data is. Zoho Analytics can now be used for in-depth reporting and analysis. Data sync is automatic and can be scheduled periodically.

Data can be uploaded from spreadsheets & flat files like Microsoft Excel, CSV, HTML, JSON, XML, text files and more, and can also feed data from online storage services like Zoho Docs, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox & Microsoft OneDrive. It can also pull data from Web URL feeds.

It can connect to a wide range of relational databases hosted in-house or in the cloud for analytics. It can also connect to popular NoSQL databases.

Inbuilt connectors apart, if the data is in any online/offline applications, it can use powerful data import & integration APIs to build a connector quickly.

Zoho Analytics allows to blend & merge data from different sources to create meaningful business reports.

It helps in visually analyzing data and build insightful reports and dashboards with easy drag-and-drop interface and does not require IT help!

It comes in a Free Plan, Basic (₹875 /month), Standard (₹1750 ), Premium (₹4000), and Enterprise (₹15250). It has a free trial version also available.

  1. Grafana (https://grafana.com/grafana/) :– Grafana is multi-platform open-source analytics and interactive visualization web application. It provides charts, graphs, and alerts for the web when connected to supported data sources. It is expandable through a plug-in system. End users can create complex monitoring dashboards using interactive query builders.

Grafana has pluggable data source model and comes bundled with rich support for many of the most popular time series databases like Graphite, Prometheus, Elasticsearch, OpenTSDB and InfluxDB. It also has built-in support for cloud monitoring vendors like Google Stackdriver, Amazon Cloudwatch, Microsoft Azure and SQL databases like MySQL and Postgres. 

  1. Chartist.js (https://gionkunz.github.io/chartist-js/) :- It has simple responsive charts and also has customized responsive charts. Specifying the style of the chart in CSS is not only cleaner but also enables them to use awesome CSS animations and transitions to be applied to SVG elements.

  1. Fusion Charts (www.fusioncharts.com/) :- It builds a beautiful web and mobile dashboards. Charts are designed to work on JavaScript, React, Vue, Angular, jQueryEmber, etc. Head to these charts to check out the code and visualization of each of these frameworks.

FusionCharts provides over 100+ charts and 2000+ maps. With extensive documentation, a consistent API, and a range of customization options – FusionCharts is the most comprehensive JavaScript charting library. FusionCharts Suite XT includes FusionCharts XT, FusionWidgets XT, PowerCharts XT, and FusionMaps XT.

  1. Data wrapper (https://app.datawrapper.de/) :- Wrapper in data mining is a program that extracts content of a particular information source and translates it into a relational form, so it can be more easily processed by computers. No code or design skill required.

  1. Charts blocks (www.chartblocks.com/en/) :- No coding is required for using this tool. It is used to build a chart in minutes in the easy to use chart designer, choosing from dozens of chart types and then customising it as per needs. It can pull in data from almost any source and even create charts that pull data from multiple sources. The data import wizard will take you through the process step by step. ChartBlocks integrates directly with Facebook and Twitter.  It can also export charts as editable vector graphics for use in Illustrator and other graphics packages.

  1. D3.js (www.d3js.org) :- D3.js is a JavaScript library for producing dynamic, interactive data visualizations in web browsers. It makes use of Scalable Vector Graphics, HTML5, and Cascading Style Sheets standards. It is the successor to the earlier Protovis framework.

D3 allows to bind arbitrary data to a Document Object Model (DOM), and then apply data-driven transformations to the document. For example, it can be used to generate an HTML table from an array of numbers, or use the same data to create an interactive SVG bar chart with smooth transitions and interaction.

Modifying documents using the W3C DOM API is tedious: the method names are verbose, and the imperative approach requires manual iteration and bookkeeping of temporary state. D3 does not introduce a new visual representation. Unlike Processing or Protovis, D3’s vocabulary of graphical marks comes directly from web standards.

  1. Chartio (www.chartio.com) :- This is a cloud-based analytics platform that offers interactive dashboards, beautiful charts, and data exploration features. It does not require any SQL knowledge.

  1. SAP Analytics Cloud (www.sap.com) Based on in-memory SAP HANA technology, this tool gives an insight into the business for making quick & intelligent decisions on the cloud.

  1. IBM Watson Analytics (https://www.ibm.com/products/cognos-analyticsIt provides automatic data visualization which aids in figuring out patterns, trends and complex relationships in business data.

  1. Salesforce Einstein Analytics Platform (www.salesforce.com/) :-This tool offers pre-built apps and dashboards thereby allowing to explore data from almost any source.

In this article we came across the list of various data visualisation tools and each data visualisation tool has its own benefits. I would suggest you to give some time exploring different options available. Then short list a few tools as per the requirement and go for a trial version or demo from the vendor. Do a comparative analysis of various tools with the features provided. And the most import analysis that is required is cost benefit analysis.

Also Check this Video

 “The key to effective visualization is to create the most detailed, clear and vivid a picture to focus on as possible. The more vivid the visualization, the more likely, and quickly, you are to begin attracting the things that help you achieve what you want to get done.” George St-Pierre

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