You Ask, I Answer: Best Simple Data Visualization Tools?

Mike asks, “My former partner/creative director is looking for a layman-accessible tool for doing cool animations with simple data sets. (Think Hans Rosling.) Do you know any tools or people who can make information beautiful?”

There are tons of tools out there that do data animations. I’d suggest looking at Google’s Data GIF Maker as a great starting point. The four tools mentions in the video:

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode Mike asks, my former partner slash creative director is looking for a lame and accessible tool for doing cool animations with simple data sets.

Think Hans Rosling.

Do you know any tools or people who can make information beautiful.

So if you’re looking for a really basic tool that can just do some fun animations, probably one, the ones that I think is is very much overlooked is Google’s data GIFs maker, which is part of their Google News lab.

They have this whole lab for helping journalists and creators and investigators do more with their information and data gift makers, one of them so let’s bring this up here.

What you see here is the data gift maker interface.

Very, very straightforward, a couple of different items, and you can make some animations out there.

So let’s go ahead and try it.

I’m going to click on circles here and We can see this, let’s call this this.

It’s election day here in the US as I’m doing this, let’s do a voting illustration.

Let’s do a change this one first one here to read people who vote or call that five.

People who complain on Facebook, call it 100.

And people who run for office, call that one.

And take a look at the different themes.

There’s three different themes here.

Let’s go ahead and preview this.

And you can see it now makes a nice little illustration there that you can then take that animated GIF and save it and put it into a package.

PowerPoint.

So that’s a really good example of a very simple tool that allows you to illustrate a very, very simple data set and turn it into something that is animated that that’s a little bit of fun to play with.

If you want something that can connect and process, slightly more advanced data sets, the tool you’re probably going to want to look at is called Google Data Data Studio.

Data Studio is a visualization tool that connects to many popular data sources and allows you to to construct your own dashboards.

So let’s go ahead and take this out of edit mode here is an edit mode.

And what you can do is hover over in and see somewhat interactively different types of information.

Now this is not animated, this is not you know, fancy flashy stuff, but it is easy for the layman it when you when I pop into edit mode here you can see it looks very much Like a Google Sheet or Google Docs or things like that, some very basic charts, different shapes and stuff.

And something that again, a layperson could probably figure out pretty easily.

Now, if you want to do advanced stuff, if you want to do the stuff that does look, very high end, the tool probably to do that would be Tableau and that is less accessible to ROI.

And it does require you to invest some time in in learning and but Tableau is a just an incredibly powerful piece of software for visualizing information, then publishing it to the web, making animations, making illustrations making interactive.

It is what many, many folks in the journalism world use.

They have data illustration departments at places like the New York Times, and then finally, at the very, very highest end our custom code things which are using our or Python and libraries like plot Lee or Google charts to make incredibly interactive, very high end animations.

You see this with the BBC, you see this with things like vice, on the verge, those are not accessible to the layman.

You need to be able to code and you need to be able to do data visualization with them.

But those are, I think, for good tools on the spectrum from very simple to the most complex.

When it comes to doing data visualization, I would definitely take a look at the data gift maker.

There are a bunch of paid tools out there, I have not evaluated most of them, so I can’t speak as to how simple or easy or not easy they are to use for making animations.

The other thing I would take a look at is look at text myth snag it a digital review of this recently and one of the things that snag allows you to do is to Put a series of essentially charts in the the bottom of a graphic here like this and and then be able to animate them.

So there are it’s not you’re not entering the graphics themselves you are simply animating the the I guess annotations here so let’s do a real quick example here.

Let’s do a video from images and take this image got recorded here.

I can just start drawing arrows.

Will you get a question? is a very simple animation that has those annotations on it.

kind of silly, but fun.

And of course, you can turn that into a gift as well.

Those are snag it is is not free.

I’ll put a link in the show notes.

If you go to Trust insights.ai slash snag it, you can get a copy with a pic.

There’s a small discount running right now.

Because the new version discount, but that’s an option as well.

If you’re just looking to do the annotation, the animation of the graphic itself, that would be an option for you to look at as well.

So lots of different tools, lots of different options, depending on your use case.

I would say talk to the person who’s doing this and trying to get a sense for what the use case is and what it is they want to animate.

And then make your tool decision based on that.

But a good question, very common question and those a lot of fun stuff out there that you can play with So good luck with that.

Leave your questions in the comments box below.

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I’ll talk to you soon.

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