What is Data Visualization?

Adam Janes
A free video tutorial from Adam Janes
Data Visualization Engineer
4.3 instructor rating • 2 courses • 15,641 students

Learn more from the full course

Mastering data visualization in D3.js [2020 UPDATE]

Design and build beautiful data visualizations with d3.js. An intensive introduction to the D3 library (V6).

06:22:33 of on-demand video • Updated October 2020

  • Understand the fundamental building blocks of D3
  • Gain a wide breadth of knowledge, learning how to create 14 different visualizations
  • Critique existing visualizations and invent better designs for displaying data
  • Interpret open source code from the D3 community for use in your own projects
  • Master advanced tools in D3, building choropleth maps, brushes, tooltips, and layouts
  • Develop substantial web apps, with multiple visualizations on the page at once
  • Articulate original abstract ideas with compelling sketches
English [Auto] In this lecture, I'm going to give a quick introduction to data visualization. I'll be showing you how we can split up visualizations into three distinct types, and I'll be showing you a few examples of each. So what exactly is a visualization? A quick search on Google gives us these two definitions. For this course, we'll be interested in the first definition, which involves representing some kind of abstract information in a visual form. If you're looking for a course and visualization that covers the second definition here, and this might not be the right one for you, data visualization is a pretty broad discipline, which can cover all sorts of different things. For the purposes of this course, we can split out the most common uses of visualization between exploring data, discovering something new by looking into it, analyzing data, testing a theory about the state of the world, or presenting data, communicating something to others for exploring data visualizations can be used to find some kind of unknown. A classic example here is the work of Edward Muybridge, who was tasked with settling a bet by finding out whether galloping horses ever have all four hooves off the ground at once. This isn't something that we can tell by the naked eye. So Muybridge used a series of experiments with photographs to find this out for sure. The result from these pictures prove the matter once and for all. As we can see here in the top few frames, that the horse is completely in midair for a good part of its stride. For a more practical example, for your final project, in this course, you'll be building a data dashboard that lets a manager compare the sales performance of different teams in its workforce here. The goal is to provide a visual tool to determine how these groups compare side by side, exploring the raw numbers to see how this changed over time. The manager can then determine which groups are causing the most problems in his business and act accordingly for analyzing data. Visualizations are made to test a hypothesis that we have about the state of the world. A classic example here is from the 19th century Dr. John Snow, not that one who used a heat map of cholera cases in an area of London to prove his hypothesis that these deaths were spread by water pumps in the area rather than by decaying organic matter for visualisations that are focused on presenting data. The goal is to communicate some kind of story and hopefully to inspire people to take action. The most common examples here are from The New York Times, who often run interactive data visualizations on their website. These visualizations appear within a block of text that communicates a certain story, and the visualizations are built to support it. Now that you've learned a little bit about what visualizations look like, I want you to look for the best visualization that you can find online. Some great places to start on Reddit at the separate data is beautiful flowing data dockum, which has a lot of visualizations built with D3. Well, you can just start looking for visualizations with Google.