9 Data Visualization Tools That Will Bring Your Analytics to Life

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Data visualization can help bring your presentations to life and make your raw data more digestible.
Photo by Sebastian Sikora

Typically, the focus on data analytics involves the proper collection, analysis and interpretation of massive data sets.

However, as with almost every profession, a key component of data analytics is communication. And when it comes to communication in analytics, it’s all about data visualization.

Data presentation involves taking data analytic findings and presenting them in a way that others – typically executives and business leaders – can understand their importance and how they provide information upon which they can base business strategies.

Strategy involves the commitment of time, resources and money. Executives in private business, nonprofits and government agencies are not going to make this leap – or even seriously begin thinking about it – without a strong presentation showing them the potential benefits of their actions.

But giving a presentation is daunting. Executives often times have to sit through hours of department heads talking, so much so that presentation fatigue is an actual thing. At this point, people at all levels of an organization have seen deck after deck on every business-related issue imaginable. Standing out, getting their attention and emphasizing the importance of the message requires a strong data presentation.

The following data visualization tools can help make a presentation stand out.

Plotly

Plotly excels at providing a platform to create standout presentations using data charts and visualizations. It includes the ability to import files from a number of different sources and allows for analysis to be presented in JavaScript, Python, Matlab, Jupyter and Excel. Plotly also has an extensive visualization library.

FusionChart

Aimed at developers, this service provides more than 90 types of charts and almost 1,000 maps. Everything they offer is customizable and works with both modern and older browsers. They also offer business dashboards and live demos.

iCharts

iCharts provides a free service in which you can use thousands of different chart types to create a data presentation. Purchasing the premium service opens access to more charts and features. iCharts allows for interactive elements within charts, as well as pulling information from a variety of places, including Google Docs and Excel.

Tableau Software

One of the most popular data presentation tools out there, the software can be used in desktop, server or cloud versions. According to Information Week, Tableau also offers the underlying platform in courses on data presentation done by Coursera.

Datawrapper

A very simple data visualization tool – but sometimes that is what you want for an uncluttered, powerful presentation. This web-based tool allows for the creation of interactive charts. It’s often what media outlets use to create the charts and graphics that accompany articles.

ZeeMaps

If you have geographic data that you want to display in the form of a map and are looking to condense a lot of information into one visual element with an interactive interface, ZeeMaps can provide you with an easy to use and edit solution that incorporates a familiar Google Map design. Paid versions of the tool include the ability to make heat maps, create connections between places and other tools to assist you in visual story telling.

RAW

An open-source application that is free to use, Raw provides the tools to create highly customizable charts. That includes a library of 16 charts to draw from, but it can also accept customized charts. The advantage here is cost and how slick it works.

Infogram

This service allows for creation of infographics as well as charts. The service is free, but access to a wealth of content requires buying one of the two premium access tiers. That includes 200-plus maps and a visualization library.

ChartBlocks

Another web-based service that excels in allowing for the quick creation of charts and graphics, ChartBlocks is particularly useful if you are in a hurry. It allows pulling data from a variety of sources.

These represent just nine of the many data visualization services available. With this much variety, it’s worth experimenting with the free versions to see which one best meets your needs. You may also choose different services depending on the type of presentation you are making.

Whichever you choose, it’s important to make your data presentation stand out – and make sure the information it wants to convey is easily digestible.

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