Data visualisation makes big data magical!

When reading big data from the endless numbers and words, we are confused and find it difficult to get the point. Visualising data has emerged to offer us new ways to find meaning in big data, in a more interesting and engaging manner.

There is a great example of interactive data visualization: Pain at the Pump: Gasoline Prices by Country .Bloomberg Gas Price Ranking sorts 61 countries by average price and by the portion of an average day’s wages needed to buy a gallon of fuel. Users can compare the gas price, affordability and consumption. Below are two screenshots comparing Australia and China in Quarter 4, 2014.

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To effectively interpret such massive data into a simple visual comparison, Pain at the Pump has the following features regarded as great data visualisation.

Story – The purpose is to compare each country’s cost on petrol and affordability and to summarise why and how. This is of interest to everyone as it is relevant to our daily life. It is also a tool to analyse our living standard.

Goal– The interface is very user-friendly. You can scroll left or right to select a country, and examine different periods. The information changes accordingly to the number and chart  showing in different colours and shapes.

Visual Form– The layout looks neat and the information is very obvious to comprehend. The structure is clear, the left side shows the country’s overview while the right side shows coloured lines connected among three comparison criteria.

One negative aspect is that we cannot tell how reliable the original data used to build this, but we don’t discuss this in this blog.

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Image source: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/what-makes-a-good-data-visualization/

Using charts, graphs, and design elements, data visualisation can make complex data more accessible, understandable and usable thereby achieving the purpose of conveying the meaning.

Interactive experience is very important to invite the attention and engagement to get the message seen or it may fail to server the purpose – to communicate information.

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