Information visualization concentrates on the use of computer-supported tools to explore large amount of abstract data. The term “information visualization” was originally coined by the User Interface Research Group at Xerox PARC and included Dr. Jock Mackinlay. Practical application of information visualization in computer programs involves selecting, transforming and representing abstract data in a form that facilitates human interaction for exploration and understanding. Important aspects of information visualization are dynamics of visual representation and the interactivity. Strong techniques enable the user to modify the visualization in real-time, thus affording unparalleled perception of patterns and structural relations in the abstract data.
Information visualization is the process of representing data in a visual and meaningful way so that a user can better understand it. Information visualization plays an important role in making data digestible and turning raw information into actionable insights.
Data visualization helps to tell stories by curating data into a form easier to understand, highlighting the trends and outliers. A good visualization tells a story, removing the noise from data and highlighting the useful information. Effective data visualization is a delicate balancing act between form and function.
Information visualization plays an important role in making data digestible and turning raw information into actionable insights. It draws from the fields of human-computer interaction, visual design, computer science, and cognitive science, among others. Examples include world map-style representations, line graphs, and 3-D virtual building or town plan designs.
The process of creating information visualization typically starts with understanding the information needs of the target user group. Qualitative research (e.g., user interviews) can reveal how, when, and where the visualization will be used. Taking these insights, a designer can determine which form of data organization is needed for achieving the users’ goals. Once information is organized in a way that helps users understand it better—and helps them apply it so as to reach their goals—visualization techniques are the next tools a designer brings out to use. Visual elements (e.g., maps and graphs) are created, along with appropriate labels, and visual parameters such as color, contrast, distance, and size are used to create an appropriate visual hierarchy and a visual path through the information.
Information visualization is becoming increasingly interactive, especially when used in a website or application. Being interactive allows for manipulation of the visualization by users, making it highly effective in catering to their needs. With interactive information visualization, users are able to view topics from different perspectives, and manipulate their visualizations of these until they reach the desired insights. This is especially useful if users require an explorative experience.