Data Visualization

Data visualization is the representation and presentation of data to help audience unserstand easier. Data can be hard to understand, therefore, charts and graphs are tools to use in data visualization, visualizing large amounts of complex data into some simple visual.

“ASK” is of vital to a good piece of data visualization, which represent accurate, story and knowledge, so as to strike a balance between interesting and accuratecy.

One of my favorite example of data visualization is Dear Data, which has been nominated in the graphics catogary of the Design Museum Design of the Year Awards.

The postcards were sent between U.K. and U.S. (Photo via Dear Data offical website)

Dear Data is created by Stefanie Posavec and Giorgia Lupi, which is a year-long analog data drawing project to get known a person by collecting personal data on share topics.

104 postcards (now collected in a book) were sent between Posavec and Giogia Lupi, one topic about life per week over a year. The aim was to explore if it is possible to get to know someone through the data that both the content and the way they visualizing data reflected their personality.

(Photo via Dear Data offical website)

 They told the world their story thought postcards, except for how many dirty laugages they have said in a week or how many times they have negative thought with reasons, sometimes, they also did experiment like how many times they could smile to a stranger.

Besides getting known with a person by data, they also proved that “data doesn’t need to be intimidating – there can be a human side to it,” Stefanie says. “You don’t need a fancy programme to work with it – you just need a pencil.”

The whole project is impressing and interesting, also allowing a new way of communication by data visualization and examining the possibility of data visualization.

One of my unlike example of data visualization is one I saw in class, it visualized the data of malaria death population.

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To define whether it is a good piece of data visualization, firstly we consider the layour then if we learn something from the graph. In this case, the designer used a varity of colour to examine the seriousness of malaria death in different part on the map.

Even though the colour and typography used, so as the contents are clear and educating, in same way it misleaded reader. Let’s take a look at the graph on the left right corner, according to gestralt psychology, our brain tend to believe that the colour with larger surface area represent a bigger number of population. In this case, pink representing children under 5 years, occupied the largest area, by just looking at the graph, we assumed that malaria deaths happened to children under 5 years old the most. However, when we looked at the number on the axis, malaria actually killed elderly of 70 years and over the most.

Graphs are usually used in data visualization to compare, however, sometimes the graph can be complex and may not be able to compare, so as misrepresent the content.

Therefore, besides layout and content, the way we present data can effect whether it is a good piece of data visualization.

1.”So, what is data visualization” and “Ask what makes a good data visualisation” – from LinkedIn. (2014). Data Visualization Fundamentals. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Feb. 2017].
2.Dear Data
Dear Data. (2017). THE PROJECT. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Feb. 2017].