What Is Graphic Data Visualization?

Alex Newth

Graphic data visualization is a method in which data are displayed and organized via graphics, rather than by plain text, and the graphics can be simple or complex. This method typically is used for locally hosted information on a computer, but it does not necessarily have to come from a computer. To make the visualization easier to comprehend, most visualizations focus on a tight niche of information. While text may be able to display organized data, graphics commonly are easier to understand and tend to be better remembered.

Charts and graphs are the most basic graphic data visualization tools.
Charts and graphs are the most basic graphic data visualization tools.

The primary role of any graphic data visualization is to display data through graphics. These graphics can be simple and traditional, like a pie chart that uses simple colors. They also can be innovative and complex, such as using custom graphics, images instead of just colors and non-traditional ways of grouping the sections. While graphics are required for a graphic visualization, text normally is used to label the graphics so people know what each graphic represents.

Pie charts are a traditional way to communicate data easily.
Pie charts are a traditional way to communicate data easily.

Most graphic data visualization tables are made to represent data found on a computer. Unlike online visualization, which deals exclusively with information found online, this visualization technique focuses on data found locally in the server or hard drive. While this is used most commonly for computer data, visualization also can be used for data not found on a computer. For example, if someone wants to record the number of a product found at a store, he can do this by hand-drawing a graphical chart; it would still be considered a data visualization.

Data come in many forms and concern many topics, but having a graphic data visualization that represents all data is very difficult to do. To make this task easier, the majority of visualizations concern either a general or tight niche of information. For example, the visualization can concern the number of movies in a particular genre as a general visualization, and a tighter example would be detailing the movie genres in which a specific actor has appeared.

Not only does graphic data visualization tend to look more appealing than text, but it also serves a useful purpose. Most people find it difficult to remember a long list of text items, but it usually is easier to remember graphics. This is because it gives the brain something with which to associate the information, such as the color of a chart or an image used to represent a part of the visualization.

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