Why Data Visualization?
Because your brain responds best to VISUALS!
Hey there fellow readers! We are back with yet another blog (or “talk” as i like to call it). This time we deviate a little bit from our regular tech. oriented direction and you guys are in for a neurological treat. Let’s get to it then.
If you have been following our talks then you wont be a stranger to the emphasis that we have already put on the importance of Data Visualization. And if you happen to be remotely related to data driven fields then you would be on board with our agenda. So to all our readers out there I have a question fresh out of Thought Factory, Why data “visualization”? And not data tunes (audio) or data touch or for that matter, data taste( well this option would be specifically interesting)?? Sounds whacky right? You must be thinking:
“What is he trying so say?“
“Data tunes?? What the heck?“
“Well I would like to have some Data-Spaghetti, if it existed? (sarcasm)“
etc etc etc.
Its not that over the top if you think. There is a reason that data is “visualized”. Because our brains respond best to visuals. But you already knew that. Then whats new? One of the things that astonishes me again and again is the difference between how we think our brains functions and how it actually does. Here is an example to support what I am intending. Throughout our life we come across many instances that require us to multitask. In fact the whole agenda of being productive sometimes revolves around the idea of multitasking. But the latest researches have established the fact that our brain doesn’t comprehend the concept of multitasking. When you see a chef working hard in the kitchen, jumping around doing multiple things, you state it as efficient multitasking. However the brain doesn’t have the ability to tackle 2 tasks at once. The chef when goes from one task to other, his brain quickly switches from say chopping vegetables to sauteing them. At one time the focus is always at one element. Rather than dividing the brain for multiple tasks the idea of multitasking revolves around the ability of the brain to toggle between these tasks shifting the focus at an enormously fast rate.
Now, coming back to our main agenda for this blog. Our brain is highly discriminatory of the inputs it receives. And its priority is set for visual inputs. About 50% of our brain is involved visual processing. About 70% of the the sensor receptors are placed in our eyes. People remember 10% of what they hear but 80% of what they see. Now you understand why you remember even the most trivial of details from a movie you saw 6 months back but not the article which you read in yesterday’s newspaper. Other factors such as interest and concentration do contribute up to some extent.
About 20% of the brain is purely for visual processing. This part basically lies at the back of your head. While its true that different parts of the brain correspond to different actions, the actual picture for processing of information is a lot more complex. The visual cortex at the back does the bulk of the processing of visual information, but it then sends that information out to almost all other areas of the brain, where it is combined with our sensory information, to produce the actual situation.
Similar things happen when we have to go through endless rows and columns of data. It is monotonous, uninteresting, and dull. Data visualization tools not only make your task simple but also fun and interesting. You would any day prefer a bar graph over excel sheets to know when your shop’s sales peaked or faulted. In a heartbeat you would be drawn towards this easy approach because as humans, we are hard wired to look for alternatives that save our time and energy. This is perhaps the most important reasons for the astounding success of Data Visualization as a concept and the boom of Data Vis tools.
Some of you would now ask the reason for this blog on the website of DataVis Experts, a company completely technical and data oriented in its approach. “What is the need for thoughts so vaguely related to technology here?” “Its doesn’t seem right.” To argue that i would say “It doesn’t seem wrong either.” After all every man made thing we see around us is a construct of our brain and imagination. It all starts up in your head and slowly takes form into reality. Thus it only seems right to dedicate at least 1 blog to the beautiful mind.
Your mind absorbs about 35 gigabytes of data on an average day outside work. That’s enormous and spectacularly efficient. Its time we gave our brains the credit they deserve.