Free data visualization tools for when words won’t cut It

In my experience the attention span of an adult in an office setting is short, I’m talking minutes at best. Add to that the distraction of smart phones and random thoughts and you have about 45 seconds to get your point across. When you need to present your ideas it’s best to do it in a way that gets right to the point and with as many graphics as possible. Since you’re mind is probably already wandering I won’t delay any longer.

Here is a great review of 22 tools used for data visualizationand analysis so when you need to captivate your audience you can take the endless spreadsheets and never-ending documents and make them into something interesting that conveys your findings concisely. To prove my point about attention spans when I first navigated to the page I went straight to the link for a quick reference chart rather than click thru 10 pages, it’s really helpful to focus on what you really need.

I’ve used expensive commercial visualization tools like Analyst Notebook and they can do some amazing stuff. If you have a couple thousand dollars, are willing and financially capable of keeping up with all the training and plugins for each new version, and use it on a regular basis, it has the ability to make a difficult analysis look really incredible. One big problem is portability. When you need to share your work with someone and really, who works alone these days, if they don’t have the software it’s not going to have the same impact. There are usually viewers that can be installed so someone else can view your work but that has it’s own issues, they may not have admin rights to install the software or may not have a working CD-drive or a connection to the Internet. Granted these are probably limited circumstances but I bring it up here to illustrate how you need to prepare for when things don’t go as planned, and that’s usually when you need it to work seamlessly the most.

If it’s free, it’s for me I always like to say so hopefully these free options fit the bill.


About bloodhoundbetty

I love tracking things down and sniffing things out, mystery and intrigue, searching and researching, finding a needle in a haystack, puzzles, riddles, and things that are clever and thought provoking.

Posted on 18 August 2011, in Software and Apps and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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