Raw data is boring and it’s difficult to make sense of it in its natural form. Add visualization to it and you get something that everybody can easily digest. Not only you can make sense of it faster, but you can also observe interesting patterns that wouldn’t be apparent from looking only at stats.It becomes memorable and easy to get the message across to a large audience.
When we see great data storytelling, we’re seeing the realization of great data visualization. We’re seeing data that’s been analyzed well and presented in a way that someone who’s never even heard of data science can get it.
Data provides us with much more of a backstory that we usually realize. Maybe it’s because it takes an amazingly trained mind to harvest that data, or to create something visually compelling out of it—but we can do so much more with data than simply draw conclusions. To make the tedious task of making beautiful charts and maps easier, We’ve made the list of best data visualization tools available for the job.
Let’s get started!
D3.js, short for ‘Data-Driven Documents’, is the first name that comes to mind when we think of a Data Visualization Software. It uses HTML, CSS, and SVG to render some amazing charts and diagrams. If you can imagine any visualization, you can do it with D3. It is feature packed, interactivity rich and extremely beautiful. Most of all it’s free and open-source.
It doesn’t ship with pre-built charts out of the box but has a nice gallery which showcases what’s possible with D3. There are two major concerns with D3.js: it has a steep learning curve and it is compatible only with modern browsers (IE 9+). So pick it up only when you have enough time in hand and are not concerned about displaying your charts on older browsers.
FusionCharts has probably the most exhaustive collection of charts and maps. With over 90+ chart types and 965 maps, you’ll find everything that you need right out of the box. It not only supports modern browsers but also older browsers starting from IE 6.
Their charts and maps work across all devices and platforms, are highly customizable and have beautiful interactions. One thing to keep in mind about FusionCharts is that it’s slightly expensive. But you can always get started with their unrestricted free trial and then buy if you like it.
Chart.js is a tiny open source library that supports just six chart types: line, bar, radar, polar, pie and doughnut. But the reason I like it is that sometimes that’s all the charts one needs for a project. If the application is big and complex, then libraries like Google Charts and FusionCharts makes sense, otherwise, for small hobby projects, Chart.js is the perfect solution.
It uses HTML5 canvas element for rendering charts. All the charts are responsive and use flat design. It is one of the most popular open-source charting libraries to emerge recently. Check out the documentation for live examples of all six chart types.
Google Charts renders charts in HTML5/SVG to provide cross-browser compatibility and cross-platform portability to iPhones and Android. It also includes VML for supporting older IE versions.
It offers a decent number of charts which covers the most commonly used chart types like bar, area, pie, and gauges. It is flexible and user-friendly (because of Google!). You can view this gallery to get an idea of various charts and the type of interactions to expect.
Highcharts is another big player in the charting space. Like FusionCharts, it also offers a diverse range of charts and maps right out of the box. Other than normal charts, it also offers a different package for stock charts called High stock which is also feature rich.
It allows exporting charts in PNG, JPG, SVG, and PDF. You can view the various chart types it offers in the demo section. High charts is free for non-commercial and personal use, but you will have to buy a license for deploying it in commercial applications.
How are you embracing visualisation tools in your business? Let us know in the comments section below!