Quoted for truth: the benefits of information visualization

John Sviokla, who blogs for the Harvard Business Review about “Innovation, Strategy, [and] Technology,” bears witness:

In my work with clients, I’ve seen three primary benefits of superior graphic representation:

  1. Great visualizations are efficient — they let people look at vast quantities of data quickly.
  2. Visualizations can help an analyst or a group achieve more insight into the nature of a problem and discover new understanding.
  3. A great visualization can help create a shared view of a situation and align folks on needed actions.

I couldn’t agree more.

“Swimming in Data? Three Benefits of Visualization” – HBR Blog Network

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  • Nice summary.

    To extend #2: I know that good visualizations help people get their -first- understanding of a problem (never mind “new understanding”) where understanding would have been close to impossible without the visualization, or (to extend #1) without a boatload of time and/or frustration.

    It’s worth adding that solutions that require a boatload of time and/or frustration often don’t see light of day, which means that they aren’t really solutions.

    Regarding #3: For real! It’s hard for people to align unless they agree. It’s hard for people to agree (effectively) unless they know what they’re agreeing about. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen people move forward quickly just as soon as they have a clear description of a plan.

Your thoughts?