Now You See It! – How Data Visualisation Works

The human brain can process a picture much faster than a table of numbers. To understand why, we must recognise the close relationship between vision and cognition. Seeing and thinking work closely to allow us make sense of our world. It is no coincidence that many words we use to describe understanding are metaphors for sight e.g. ‘insight’, ‘illumination’ and of course, ‘I see’.

Vision is by far our most powerful and cognitively efficient sense. When we represent information in visual form, our ability to think about it is dramatically enhanced. Visualisation makes available in front of our eyes more information than we could possibly hold at once in our mind. In simple terms, information visualisation makes us think.

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Read More: Stephen Few, Now You See It – Simple Visualisation Techniques for Quantitative Analysis (Oakland, 2009)