Note: Thank you to Ariel Pohoryles, Director of Product Marketing at Dundas Data Visualization, for sharing the following educational guest article on advanced visualizations. I’ll be following this one up with more visualization topics and events related to the Art of AI Storytelling in the coming months.
Much has been written about how to choose the best type of visualization for the data at hand. Multiple aids such as chart suggestion diagrams, cheat sheets and even card games have become wildly popular to help you choose the most appropriate visualizations.
After a while, choosing from a list of common visualizations becomes second nature if you care about data visualization best practices. However, what about advanced data visualizations? Sometimes uncommon visualizations will only fit very specific use cases.
Here is a quick interactive guide to three advanced data visualizations that are often perceived as complex. We’ll quickly cover what each data visualization is, when they’re most appropriate to use, and show you live, interactive samples of them.
Take Visual Communication to the Next Level
What is it? Let’s get one thing straight. The Sunburst Chart is a simply stunning data visualization. It is great at both representing hierarchical data structures and increasing engagement of users. Often hidden in the simplicity of a circle, sunburst has a multitude of intriguing, distinctive qualities. What it lacks in precision is often made up by an intuitiveness and aesthetic beauty that comes from its circular nature. The Sunburst Chart shows a hierarchy breakdown through a series of concentric circles. You can slice and dice it based on hierarchical relationships to the root node. The root node is the first part of a data structure. It links to multiple nodes containing data fields.
A Sunburst Chart allows the user to drill down without filtering.
When can I use it? Sunburst Charts are particularly helpful when displaying multiple hierarchy levels at once. It provides visualization of data at various levels. Furthermore, sunburst charts are extensible to numerous events and solutions that have anything to do with hierarchy.
What is it? The Relationship Diagram, also known as a Force Directed Graph, displays a collection of nodes (i.e., circles) and links (i.e., straight or curved lines) that connect the different nodes together. Simple enough, right?
The Relationship Diagram is great for uncovering hidden relationships.
While other visualizations show many of the relationships implicitly within the visualization, the Relationship Diagram displays explicit connections between many different data points at a glance.
When can I use it? You’ll want to use the Relationship Diagram when analyzing social media connections and impact, customer engagement experience, directions of connections or other forms of hierarchy relationships.
What is it? The Correlation Matrix is a table that displays the same variables across its rows as it does its columns. The variables correlation coefficients are mapped from -1 to +1 in respective colors (Red = Negative, Blue = Positive). The coefficients (values) that are situated diagonally on the table from top-left to bottom-right will always be blue (a value of +1) as this is where the variable is always correlated to itself. Conversely, with the Correlation Matrix being a grid, its other diagonal values will be symmetrical. This is because the correlation between variables x and y (row and column) are the same between variable y and x (column and row).
The Correlation Matrix gives you a view of bi-variate correlations.
When can I use it? The Correlation Matrix is a great visualization to use when highlighting the positive and negative dependencies between multiple variables within your data in a single visual. Rather than having to analyze and look for a hidden dependency one variable at a time, you can use this chart for any number of situations where you want to measure meaningful relationships. It is often used for identifying the next steps in a marketing campaign, to improve the design of a website, or to continue in-depth analysis on customers for additional correlation dependencies.
To Learn More
Common bar and line chart data visualizations are plentiful. However, advanced data visualizations are few and far between. Advanced visualizations increase human curiosity to get people engaged in the message you’re trying to convey. If you are interested in learning more about other beautiful advanced data visualizations, download the complimentary ebook “10 Advanced Data Visualizations”. In addition to the three visualizations I’ve already covered here, the ebook covers how to identify the right opportunities to use seven more advanced visualization types within interactive dashboards and data storytelling presentations.