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Posts Tagged ‘data visualization

Introduction

Humans have a natural ability to correlate patterns from multiple sources to become aware of information. Most current human-computer interfaces however are limited to visual and more exactly text-based interaction. While it is true that current computer systems use a large number of symbolic elements and metaphors in the Graphical User Interface (like icons, windows, drag and drop, and so on), the primary mean of information exchange is still the written (or in the case of computers typed) word.

This approach (while having the advantage of simplicity) is very limiting from an information-bandwidth (the rate at which information can be exchanged between the user and the computer) point of view. Because typing / reading has an upper limit (although estimate vary from 40 to 250 words per minute for typing and between 250 and 700 words per minute for reading, it is clear that such limits do exists and that most people are not able to cross certain barriers, no matter the amount of training), it is logical to conclude that we must look to alternative ways to consume more information quicker. From a technical point of view the two methods which are the easiest to implement with current hardware are:

  • alternative (non-textual) representation of (aggregated) data, making use of our ability to observe trends and patterns

  • auditory feedback for certain events

Both of these methods can easily be implemented with almost all consumer-grade computing equipment. The fact that both of these are “output” (from the computer point of view) methods can be justified that the rate at which outputs is produced (and needs to be consumed) is much larger than the rate of input we need to provide (two of the reasons being that a great deal of output is produced by automated systems and also because in todays interconnected world we consume the sum of many outputs). In the following pages I will focus on the first method and more specifically the way in which it applies to networking data.

Each part (after the introductory part about data visualization) will present one way to visualize data and discuss the applicability of the given method in the context of computer networking.

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why do you think its important?

Today the biggest problem faced by any growing organization is “how to represent the data to the users”. One might have the best operations and processes to mine the data and tabulate the final results but it all goes down the drain, if we are unable to present the data to the user.

The mantra: “showing the maximum amount of information  while using the least amount of ink and presenting it in a fixed amount of space” Any interface which doesn’t follow his golden rule is not worth showing.  More over its not so simple and easy to be in sync with the above mantra.  So one has to keep experimenting different yet innovative ways to represent data. Here is a list of a few good Data-visualizations. Enjoy yourself 😉

special thanks to “www.smashingmagazine.com”

1. Mindmaps

Trendmap 2007

Web Trends 2007

Informationarchitects.jp presents the 200 most successful websites on the web, ordered by category, proximity, success, popularity and perspective in a mindmap. Apparently, web-sites are connected as they’ve never been before. Quite comprehnsive.

2. Displaying News

Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator. The size of data blocks is defined by their popularity at the moment.

Newsmap

Voyage is an RSS-feader which displays the latest news in the “gravity area”. News can be zoomed in and out. The navigation is possible with a timeline.

Voyage

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