Why Good Data Visualization Is Critical In An Age Of Information Overload

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The advancement of Internet consumption has brought about positive and negative impacts on productivity. When the Internet was first introduced, many enthusiasts thought that instant access to information would lead to higher productivity in most business and production settings. They thought that accessing information was the greatest hurdle in productivity.

These expectations may not have materialized given the fact that information overload may have had the opposite effect on productivity. Data visualization has been introduced as a way of categorizing and arranging data with the hope of making it less overwhelming.

Information Overload

Psychologists have long studied the effects of too much information on our ability to make decisions. They have medically diagnosed the issue as infoxication or infobesity. Infoxication manifests in dissatisfaction that arises from the inability to utilize information making a decision. It usually leads to lower quality decisions since the systems processing the data are incapable of processing too much input cognitively. The situation is worse when the input if conflicting or unclear.

The major factors that have contributed to information overload in businesses are the computer and information ages. When personal computers became popular in the second half of the 20th century, most people expected that they would be a useful tool for solving many tedious daily problems at home and in businesses. Very few people saw the potential harm in such convenience.

Fast forward, these tools have become a distraction especially with the development of the Internet. To make matters worse, computers have become smaller and faster meaning that people carry them everywhere they go. At the moment, there are numerous watch-sized computers that are more powerful than first and second-generation computers. These computers are referred to as smart watches. As smartphones become more powerful, the smart wearables will be integrated more and more into people’s lives.

To understand the impact of instant access to information, one needs to consider a situation where an employee is unsure whether to implement a certain program using Windows, Linux, Android, Free BSD, or OSX. Many database developers would direct the employee to choose the platform that will lead to the greatest returns for the company. In many cases, you will also consider technicality and choose a platform that is easier to work with.

However, all these platforms have been developed and tweaked so well that settling for one makes the employee feel as if they are missing the best features of the others. The employee may decide to do some research for a week only to realize that each platform has some merits and demerits. Most internet searches for an objective position will not lead to satisfaction since the web content creators are just as confused by the information overload.

Before long, they have wasted several weeks deciding on the best platform to use. They have not even considered the project scope or the core problem they set out to solve. When the worker finally makes a decision, it could be out of frustration or time running out. Psychologists have stated that decisions made after you have been bombarded with too much information are usually unsatisfactory even if they are the most ideal. There is the nagging feeling of regret from missing the other options.

Data Visualization

Data visualization is a revolutionary way for overcoming information overload. One of the ways that it does this is through easier consumption of data. The adage that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is true in this case. The best way to absorb new information while keeping track of the older one is through visualization. Moreover, graphical and pictorial data representation makes it possible to detect trends and other visual patterns.

Good data visualization will help you connect the dots. If you work with a team, all you need to do is visualize the information as clearly as possible in order to derive relationships that you could never have detected on the tabular forms of data. Another major reason why you need data visualization in the age of information overload is the need to sustain interest from your audience.

Unfortunately, information overload has directly contributed to short attention spans among workers or other stakeholders. With the realization that there is too much free information out there, people are continuously growing weary of the details. Data visualization takes care of such lack of interest perfectly through summarization.

Aside from eliminating information overload, database developers have figured out that with some effort it is possible to identify outliers easily. Outliers usually drag metrics in the wrong direction. This may not be possible to establish until you have graphically represented the data. This is especially true when you are dealing with big records of data.

Good data visualization aids in boosting productivity by making it easier to focus on the a few important details. With such tools, you only need to remember a single graphic of interest when making a presentation. This is beneficial since it allows you to convey clearer information to your team. For instance, the workers know exactly what you want them to focus on at the end of the meeting.

The final reason why data visualization is revolutionary in eliminating infoxication is that it helps you to make faster and accurate decisions. The reason why too much information is a burden is that it delays and leads to low-quality decisions. All factors considered, data visualization will allow people to consume a lot of information without being overwhelmed.

The information age has been both beneficial and detrimental to productivity. You will see these impacts of information overload in many aspects of the personal and business life. People are no longer capable of making relatively straightforward decisions without a Google search that only confuses them more.

In production, it is common for workers to review a ‘how-to’ video on BitChute before embarking on a relatively simple project. Information overload has contributed to lack of confidence in virtually every aspect of our lives. Data visualization summarizes information making it possible to process it faster and make high-quality decisions.


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