Top 5 Data Visualization Tools

Nov 21, 2018
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Aarav has a presentation to appear in for an important business deal. As per the list given by the boss, he has to present last 10 years company`s sales figures, turn over, growth per year, target for next 5 years and other listed details. Being a responsible staff, he has collated all the required data and stored it in his pen drive.

Now, suppose you are the client to whom Aarav has to present. What do you fell would be more appropriate to read a long list of data in a sheet or a picture representing the data?

Obviously, the visualization would be more engaging and easy to understand. It would give a clear picture of the position of company in market.

With the help of visualization tools, data can be converted easily to more accessible form hence making it much simpler to understand. Data Visualization is available for both developers and for presentation ensuring ease of work for both.

First, let`s have a look at following tools to make a killer presentation and wow your audience.

1. Tableau

Tableau is among the master software of Data Visualization. Being a simple tool, it has more than 57,000 customer base. It can handle large amount of data which are also frequently changing and are used in Big Data operation.

It creates efficient graphics and visualization which makes the team understand data more easily. It lets one create charts, tables, maps and other graphics as required. It visualizes the report in desktop as well as in mobile. Those who do not want to install it in desktop, there is an option of cloud hosted service for them.

Key Points:

Ease of Use: No Programming is required, just drag and drop to analyze data.
Fast Analytics: It is much faster to analyze compared to other tools.
Any Data Form: Can visualize any data from spreadsheets, large database, cloud service, Hadoop.
Automatic Update: For any difference in data, automatic updates happen with scheduled defined time.
Share in clicks: With few clicks, data is visualized in desktop and mobile.
Smart Dashboards: Different data is combined and presented which gives a richer insight.

2. QlikView

Qlikview was designed to be innovative and intuitive with a thought of avant-garde prebuilt dashboard application and associative dashboards. With its advanced search capabilities it does not require a data warehouse and can pull in data with help of associative dashboards.

It keeps the data in RAM of server for users. This makes queries faster and quick exploration of data. It minifies the size of data to 10% of its original size, saving huge volume of RAM. It utilizes only essential piece of data for analysis. It is commonly used with Qliksense package which handles data exploration and discovery. Other feature of Qlikview is that, it can manipulate data automatically judging the relationship among the data without any work to be performed by the user. This speeds up the process of dashboard development.

Key Points:

Guided Analytics: Controlled analytic experience guides employees to make decisions and discover more insights.
Safe and Secure: Provides top to bottom control of data management, application and permission.
Centralized App: It can control the designs, dashboards and layout.
Customize: Customized application can be built with QlickView.
Combinable: QlikView can be integrated in business application system with extensive API`s.
Data Integration: It unites data sources and centrally manage data and apps to make it easy to get insight.

3. ChartBlocks

It is an easy online tool which does not require any coding and prepares visualizations from database, spreadsheets and live feed. The chart is created in hood HTML5 by using D3.js of Javascript library.

It can create charts that pulls in data from multiple sources. It also allows to select the chart from dozens of available charts and customize it according to the needs. The charts can be embed in any website and also in social media sites Facebook and Twitter. The visualization created is responsive and compatible to any device and any screen size. The charts can be exported to graphic software as editable vector graphics.

Key Points:

Multiple inputs: Takes data from various source in just few clicks.
Being Wizard: Picks right data for chart using chart building wizard.
Customize: Allows to select the chart and customize it as per the need.
Easy Share: Simple to share the charts in websites and social media.

4. Power BI

Power BI is the software solution developed by Microsoft which provides business intelligence and analytic needs. It is an online service which provides connection to data even by third party software and services.

It is a simple web based tool providing customizable visualization. The available functionality of desktop application can be expanded to much larger extent by adding data cleansing and normalization. It also supports mobile app for data driven decision. By sharing work in Power BI, lively dashboards are formed from combination of reports thus making data centralized and fortifying quick follow up for team. Being a Microsoft product, it provides similar interface to Windows users. As it is related to other products, it is also integrated to Microsoft tools including Azure Cloud, Excel and SQL server.

Key Points:

Free version: Has a basic free version available that gives user a chance to first explore it and take decision accordingly. This adds another positive point for user to avail the service.
Multiple inputs: It supports numerous ways to import data from spreadsheets, cloud and even from third party.
Interactive: It has an interactive dashboard with real time data feed.
Integrative: It has simple API to integrate with application.
Wide Platform: it offers support for web, mobile and desktop.

5. RAW

Raw mentions in its homepage being the missing link between spreadsheet and vector graphics. Making the work much easier, data can be used in Graphics softwares like Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape and Sketch to give it a designer look.

It can take the data from Google Docs, MS Excel, Apple Numbers or simple list with numbers separated by commas. It produces semi furnished visualization so same can be opened and improved in Graphic editor. It is easy to use and get quicker result.

Key Points:

Conventional and Unconventional Layouts: Provides charts for both simple and challenging inputs. For simple operation, bar graphs, pie charts are available and for huge data, charts are provided which are difficult to produce with other tools.
Instant Visualization: As the data is mapped, visualization appears. So it's easy to check the reports with multiple data entered for setting upcoming targets.
Easy to work: It works with copy pasted text from MS Excel, Spreadsheet etc, delimiter separated values for tsv, csv files and with API`s.
Data is Safe: Being a web app, it will be attended only by the web. Data will not be stored or copied.
Export in Vector form: Visualizations can be exported as vector files (SVG) or raster files (PNG) and lodge into website.

For Developers:

After the presenters, let's proceed to the Data Visualization tools for developers. For these, data should be in JSON or XML format.

1. Google Charts

The charts created are interactive and some also has the option to zoom to check data. It is very much user friendly with its site having good comprehensive gallery which displays all visualizations and interactions. It operates on HTML5 and SVG aiming at Android and iOS, providing cross browser compatibility. It is also supported in old internet explorer version via VML.

2. Fusion Charts

Fusion Chart supports JSON and HTML data. It is capable to export the data in formats like PDF, PNG, JPEG, and SVG. It is most comprehensive JavaScript library. It includes around 90 charts and 900 maps. Easy integration with libraries as jQuery, languages like PHP and ASP.NET, framework like AngularJS and React is possible.

3. Ember Charts

Ember Charts puts focus on best practices and interactivity. It offers features of pie charts, bar charts, scatter charts and time series. It is easy to use and extend. The best part of it is that the app will not crash even if bad data is fed to it. It makes error handling more graceful. Ember charts is created by Ember.js with efforts to make it better.

4. D3.js

Data Driven Document (D3) is the best visualization library which uses HTML, CSS and SVG and runs on JavaScript. It projects fast and creative visualization for large data sets. D3.js is the best for data driven real time interactivity. Functional style of D3.js allows code to reuse through a diverse collection of officially and community developed module. It does not have any prebuilt chart and only supports IE9+.

5. Chartist.js

The styles of Chartist are completely customizable. It provides good flexibility with separation of concern using CSS Styles and JavaScript functions. It uses SVG which is future of illustration in web. It is responsive with media queries and is DPI independent. It is completely built and customizable with Sass.

Using these tools, will add more interest towards work and save time. So, with the top Data visualization tool listed above, it`s now time to make a stunning presentation and grab your audience interest. Being a developer, differentiate your work from rest with data that responds to user`s action.


Author Bio: Jane Thomson is a Content Marketing Manager at GreyCampus with five years rich experience on developing content for professional certification courses like PMP- Project Management Professional, PMI-ACP, Prince2, ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), Big Data, Cloud, Digital Marketing and Six Sigma.
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