Web Based Visualizations
Web-based data visualization is becoming more popular across all industries. While you can always embed data visualizations or even entire dashboards using Power BI or Tableau, it looks a lot cleaner to have visualizations that are actually directly part of the web page. It’s also typically easier to make the page mobile-friendly, and to make the visuals more interactive.
Common Use Cases For Data Visualizations
If you are writing any sort of article that uses data to support its central argument or focus, it is often quite helpful to embed a data visualization within the text of that article to better illustrate that focus. Here is a great example of within-article embedded data visualization. In this example, the author uses simple line graphs to demonstrate why it’s nearly certain that greenhouse gasses are to blame for global climate change. These visualizations allow the author to express his point much more concisely than if he had tried to convey the same argument using text only.
Realizing the value of data visualization to their users, the list of apps that have data analytics sections built into them is growing quickly. These analytics can greatly enhance the amount of insight users have into how they and others are using the app. For example, Google Analytics allows users to visualize their usage of Youtube, Gmail, and other Google products. And lots of CRM products, such as Salesforce, Zoho, Bitrix24, Pipedrive, and many others, also contain an analytics section that analyzes data stored on the platform without having to configure any of the graphs and charts.
Data-savvy organizations are beginning to use data visualizations to communicate their impact statements and/or mission statements. These data visualizations serve to augment ―or even replace entirely― a conventional text-based impact statement. Many of these organizations produce annual reports on which they’ll put data visualizations to show who they serve, where they serve, what they do, and why they do it. Here is an example of a non-profit whose impact statement has been enhanced by data visualization work completed in collaboration with Boxplot.
Tools For Web-Based Visualizations
There are practically countless different tools that can be used for web-based visualizations, although certain tools are better for certain types of users and circumstances. Here are a few of our favorites, going from least technical to most technical:
The advantage of Datawrapper is that users at all levels of technical competency can use it. There’s no coding of any kind required, even though the available features—such as automatic updating, Excel connectivity, and Google Sheet connectivity—are usually limited to more sophisticated developers. Options include an open-source base package, an advanced package for $5,990 per year, and an enterprise package priced on a bespoke basis.
Plotly is similar to HighCharts. If you favor customizability, Plotly is a great option. Specifically, Plotly offers a Chart Studio product that enables users to create web-embedded interactive visualizations. Plotly is also great for more technically-savvy users, as their Dash Enterprise product allows for full integration with Python machine learning stacks; additionally, all Plotly visualizations can be connected to SQL databases. The base version of Plotly is open-source (free), although more sophisticated organizations may opt for the advanced Dash Enterprise platform for $50,000 per year and/or the advanced Chart Studio platform for $25,000-$75,000 per year.
There’s not much that can be done in terms of data visualization that can’t be done in Tableau. It allows for integrated data pulls from nearly any data storage system: Excel, APIs, relational databases/SQL, big data infrastructure such as Hadoop, or cloud-based data infrastructure such as Salesforce and AWS. Tableau also offers Tableau Online, a data visualization product devoted specifically to web-based publishing. You can view an example of our work in Tableau Online here, where our dashboard was embedded into the Forbes Funds website. this product offers an NLP-based data querying feature called Ask Data that makes slicing-and-dicing of your visualizations a breeze. There’s no limit in terms of publication either, as the visualizations you create in Tableau can be embedded in nearly any online context. But I don’t want to sugar coat Tableau too much; it is a highly sophisticated platform that, unlike the other two web-based visualization platforms I mentioned, takes A LOT of time spent practicing to really master. And even if you do master Tableau, it doesn’t have an open-source option; pricing ranges from $160 to $840 per user per year ―which can add up quickly if your organization will have many users― and that’s just for the Tableau Online product, not the whole Tableau suite.
Web-Based Visualizations For Your Organization
Organizations across all sectors are coming to recognize the convenience and economic benefits of web-based visualizations and reporting. As a result, adopting this type of data reporting is seen as a key factor in these organizations’ competitive data strategy. If your organization is ready to gain this competitive edge, contact us and we’ll be happy to start a conversation about your options in web-based data visualization.