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When Data Visualization Works — And When It Doesn't

When Data Visualization Works — And When It Doesn't | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it

 

I am uncomfortable with the growing emphasis on big data and its stylist, visualization. Don't get me wrong — I love infographic representations of large data sets. The value of representing information concisely and effectively dates back to Florence Nightingale, when she developed a new type of pie chart to clearly show that more soldiers were dying from preventable illnesses than from their wounds. On the other hand, I see beautiful exercises in special effects that show off statistical and technical skills, but do not clearly serve an informing purpose. That's what makes me squirm.

Ultimately, data visualization is about communicating an idea that will drive action. Understanding the criteria for information to provide valuable insights and the reasoning behind constructing data visualizations will help you do that with efficiency and impact.

For information to provide valuable insights, it must be interpretable, relevant, and novel. With so much unstructured data today, it is critical that the data being analyzed generate interpretable information. Collecting lots of data without the associated metadata — such as what is it, where was it collected, when, how and by whom — reduces the opportunity to play with, interpret, and gain insights from the data. It must also be relevant to the persons who are looking to gain insights, and to the purpose for which the information is being examined. Finally, it must be original, or shed new light on an area. If the information fails any one of these criteria, then no visualization can make it valuable. That means that only a tiny slice of the data we can bring to life visually will actually be worth the effort.

Once we've narrowed the universe of data down to those that satisfy these three requirements, we must also understand the legitimate reasons to construct data visualizations, and recognize what factors affect the quality of data visualizations. There are three broad reasons for visualizing data:

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Positive Thinking Isn't Always The Right Strategy

Positive Thinking Isn't Always The Right Strategy | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it

Should we try to be happy all the time? No. If there’s a style of thinking that promotes happiness, it might seem silly to some that we ever take any other perspective.

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No Future: Present Shock and Why Our Now-Fixation Has Changed Everything From Advertising To Politics

No Future: Present Shock and Why Our Now-Fixation Has Changed Everything From Advertising To Politics | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
In his new book, Present Shock, Douglas Rushkoff argues that "presentism" has brought about the end of storytelling and completely changed culture, politics and our personal lives.
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Fantasy Baseball: Top Ten First Basemen

Fantasy Baseball: Top Ten First Basemen | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
Fantasy Baseball: Top Ten First Basemen Whether you play fantasy baseball in a free or a cash fantasy baseball league, you need to have a strategy. Here is a start – a list of the top ten first basemen.
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Clean Up Your Desktop With These Helpful Tools

Clean Up Your Desktop With These Helpful Tools | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
Does your PC's desktop bear a resemblance to a second grader's? A disorganized desktop filing system can slow you down. Maybe you just take an extra moment to scroll through an endless list of documents and find what you're looking for.
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Strategy: Why Big Pharmas Do What They Do -- And How Silicon Valley Might Help Them Think Differently

Strategy: Why Big Pharmas Do What They Do -- And How Silicon Valley Might Help Them Think Differently | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
AstraZeneca’s revitalization strategy, announced this week, follows the same well-worn playbook used by so many in the industry, employing approaches vividly familiar from my consulting days: cut headcount, externalize R&D, focus on select...
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The Next 3 Biggest Things in Tech

The Next 3 Biggest Things in Tech | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
The president of VC firm Intel Capital reveals the three biggest areas for growth and innovation in the technology industry. Intel Capital is a major venture capital firm that just happens to be related to the chip giant.
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Leaders Need to Remove Barriers, Not Create Them

Leaders Need to Remove Barriers, Not Create Them | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
The reality of leadership is that we work for our teams, not the other way around.
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What Every Landing Page Should Have

What Every Landing Page Should Have | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
Many organisations spent millions of pounds driving good quality traffic to their websites – investment in Pay Per Click advertising, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media referrals and affiliates is massive. But the smart organisations realise...
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Four Tips for Creating SEO-Friendly Content

Four Tips for Creating SEO-Friendly Content | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
In the early days of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), optimization was equated to shoehorning as many mentions of your keywords as possible into your copy in a practice known as “stuffing.” That strategy has since gone the way of the dinosaur.
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Corporate Strategy Is a Fool's Errand

Corporate Strategy Is a Fool's Errand | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
Most corporations consist of multiple divisions, which set their own strategy (what we generally refer to as "business strategy"). But more often than not, these dvisions have very little to do with one another.
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App Developers Need 50+ Strategy to Strike Gold

App Developers Need 50+ Strategy to Strike Gold | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
Hey app developers, what’s your 50+ strategy?
If you don’t want to leave money on the table, you best have one.  The 50+ market represents $2.7 trillion or 47 percent of consumer spending in America– the largest of any cohort.
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Tips to devise a sound e-Commerce strategy

Tips to devise a sound e-Commerce strategy | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
E-Commerce is a very broad topic that can apply to many areas of an organization: business, technical, and security for instance.
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40 Ways To Increase Your Twitter Followers (Infographic)

40 Ways To Increase Your Twitter Followers (Infographic) | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it

The question that seems to be on everyone’s lips on the social media marketing team is “How can I increase the number of Facebook likes?” This has led to tactics emerging to increase engagement by posting frenzied Facebook updates many times a day.

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How to Make Your Field Workforce Truly Mobile

How to Make Your Field Workforce Truly Mobile | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
From utility and telecommunications professionals, to engineers, retail associates and professional services, field workforce personnel are more than just what you think of in terms of a typical cable person.
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5 Proven Tips for Crafting Relevant Content That Attracts, Convinces, and Converts Prospects

5 Proven Tips for Crafting Relevant Content That Attracts, Convinces, and Converts Prospects | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
For some time now, online marketers have been hailing content marketing, describing it as the next big thing in online marketing. And truly, many businesses and brands are generating more leads and sales using this strategy.
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Kill Your Digital Ghosts

We have kicked off the work for a six month project to investigate Digital Business Strategy (to be published as the September Gartner EXP report) – What is one? What does it contain?
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Does Your Business Strategy Have Vision Across, or Just Look Past?

Does Your Business Strategy Have Vision Across, or Just Look Past? | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
Past what? Does it matter? There are eternal business challenges, and a slow growth environment like we’ll all face this year accentuates all the warts which can be overlooked with easy growth.
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How To Choose Your Mobile Development Strategy

How To Choose Your Mobile Development Strategy | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
There are really only three choices for optimizing your mobile development. How to pick the right one.
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Cast Analyzer Adds Support for PHP

Cast Analyzer Adds Support for PHP | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
Version 1.7 of Highlight rationalizes web application portfolio strategy
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Glaring Lack Of Zombies In “Downton Abbey” Rectified

Glaring Lack Of Zombies In “Downton Abbey” Rectified | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
A web film revives Downton Abbey, and its dead. The last thing anyone needs is another zombie/pop-culture mash up. But Downton Abbey has gone so entirely off the rails, that the Crawleys might as well receive a couple of walking dead visitors.
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A flowchart for not feeding the trolls

A flowchart for not feeding the trolls | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
This flowchart by the United States Air Force serves as a good baseline for social media interaction and for dealing with pesky and potentially harmful Internet trolls.
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5 Strategies For Sustainable Link Building

5 Strategies For Sustainable Link Building | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
Link building is still a very important part of any internet marketing or SEO strategy. Regardless of how much weight links are currently being given by search engines, they can still be very valuable for your brand.
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Rushing Into Social: A Cautionary Tale

Rushing Into Social: A Cautionary Tale | I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. | Scoop.it
We’ve been telling you for a long time now that rushing into “the next big thing,” especially online, is not a great strategy. In fact, it cannot really be called a strategy at all.
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