Making Something Invisible Visible

The answer to a simple question is no longer simple. There are millions of answers and a million more questions that follow.

In a sea of ‘what if’s’ and hypotheticals visualizations assist in extricating helpful information from oceans of data.

The images highlight patterns where before only words appeared. They show trends and explain complexity to audiences with no previous experience in that field.

In the lecture it was suggested that visualizations were, in the past, considered evil. They were accused of being ‘distracting,’ but I think people were just realizing and intimidated by the power of visuals and visualizing.

No mere picture could give a complete or accurate depiction of life, but images were said to be attempting such representations.

This view may have some merit based on data needing to be ‘cleaned’ before use. That is the standardization of icons, text-type and the like before being loaded into visualization software.

The problem with visualizations is that there is no fine print to fall back on. You can read the same paragraph of a textbook over and over, until you understand it.

Images only allow for one possible understanding, they represent a specific set of data, and thus one has to assume the data has been collected, cleaned and imported correctly.

Thus visualization images, can lead you astray, they cannot be a sole communicator but must be accompanied by explanations.

Coupled with text, visualizations boost understanding-allows our minds to get a 3D understanding or a Sort of practical understanding without being involved with research from the beginning.



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