Data visualization is the study of the visual representation of data, meaning "information which has been abstracted in some schematic form, including attributes or variables for the units of information".
According to Friedman (2008) the "main goal of data visualization is to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means. It doesn?t mean that data visualization needs to look boring to be functional or extremely sophisticated to look beautiful. To convey ideas effectively, both aesthetic form and functionality need to go hand in hand, providing insights into a rather sparse and complex data set by communicating its key-aspects in a more intuitive way. Yet designers often fail to achieve a balance between design and function, creating gorgeous data visualizations which fail to serve their main purpose ? to communicate information". Indeed, Fernanda Viegas and Martin M. Wattenberg have suggested that an ideal visualization should not merely communicate clearly, but stimulate viewer engagement and attention
Data visualization is closely related to Information graphics, Information visualization, Scientific visualization and Statistical graphics. In the new millennium data visualization has become active area of research, teaching and development. According to Post et al. (2002) it has united the field of scientific and information visualization".
KPI Library has developed the ?Periodic Table of Visualization Methods?, an interactive chart displaying various different data visualization methods . It details 6 types of data visualization methods: data, information, concept, strategy, metaphor and compound.
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