One of the best ways to quickly draw attention to the key messages and insights from data at hand is to use data visualization tools. That helps us uncover surprising patterns and observations that wouldn’t be apparent from looking at stats alone.
In a recent post in HBR, it states “Organizations selling ideas rather than products stand to benefit the most. ” from investing in data visualization tools because products speaks of themselves while ideas “requires a level of personalization, detail, nuance and openness” which can be readily provided by data visualization tools. One can check General Electric entire subdomain dedicated to data visualization – http://visualization.geblogs.com/
If you are still not convinced, then check out the following Ted Talk by David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization
So, if Mr. McCandless, has been able to sell the idea of conveying your data in form of visuals, then following are five data visualization tools worth considering:
1. iCharts: iCharts has a hosted solution for creating and presenting compelling charts. Its also offers free trail. It also has the ability to integrate interactive elements and can also pull data from Google drive.
2. Visual Insight: It is similar to Tableau. Microstrategy is offering their online service (Analytics Express) gratis. It works for Macs.
3. Flot: Works for jQuery but has many advanced features and works across all common browsers including IE. However, you must be knowing jQuery to use this data visualization tool.
4. Microsoft Excel: Though its an entry level tool, you can do some really complex visualization stuff for internal use in MS-Excel.
5. Google Chart API: Though it only offers dynamic visualization and not the static images, one can use the data in MS-Excel to create dynamic charts via Google API.
Do let us know in the comments section if you have your own list of data visualization tools.