Data visualization platforms combine analytics and design features for presenting data in visual formats such as charts, figures, and tables. You can choose the best platform by comparing the features, flexibility, availability, user experience, security, and pricing of visualization tools. Learn more about these factors and more options for business intelligence and visualization platforms.
Features of Data Visualization Platform
Several features can make some data visualization tools more accessible or robust than competing offerings. As a rule, visualization tools are only as effective as the BI, which serves as the data source for interpretation and presentation.
In terms of visualization capabilities, consider the different types of visual representations a platform can generate. Features for sharing visualizations and communicating insights can also be deciding factors.
Flexibility of Platform
You should understand the options and limits of different visualization platforms before investing too much money or time in a particular platform. The most flexible platforms run on systems you use and create responsive visualizations accessible on most computers and devices.
The rubric of flexibility also applies to connecting or integrating visualization platforms. The most flexible platforms can source data from many other platforms. The availability of libraries is essential for open-source platforms.
User Experience of Platform
A visualization platform should be accessible to users who need to present data. Many platforms have steep learning curves, and some tools for presenting data require coding or scripting skills. Look for a data visualization platform that has good customer support and documentation.
The interface design of data visualization software can make or break the user experience. Some platforms are easier for beginners with extensive training, while others have code-free drag-and-drop functionality for wide usability.
Users often rely on data visualization tools to present proprietary data to internal stakeholders. It is worthwhile to consider the security of a platform in addition to any connections to or integrations with data sources.
The free versions of some leading visualization tools publish projects to the web. For instance, Tableau Public displays projects made with this free version of one of the top visualization platforms. There are better choices than this public option for visualizing sensitive data.
Visualization platforms range from being free of cost up to $500 or more for a single developer license. The upfront cost of these tools and the frequency of license or subscription renewals can be important considerations.
Paid visualization platforms should provide features or support beyond the offerings of free, open-source alternatives. Features such as artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, or support for many charts and graphs can set more expensive visualization platforms apart from free or low-cost offerings.
Data Visualization Platform Open Source
Proprietary functions and file types make data visualization tools less flexible. Many visualization platforms are designed for use with BI software from the same company.
Some of the most flexible visualization tools are open-source. Communities of developers create and maintain these user-supported platforms. Open-source visualization tools can offer free or low-cost alternatives to more costly and less flexible commercial data visualization suites.
The Best Data Visualization Platform
The best platform for visualizing data will be a good match for the types of data you are working with and your skill level. Large enterprises may have larger budgets for visualization suites, while small businesses may prefer open-source platforms. You can use branded virtual office backgrounds for the most professional presentation and share data visualizations during video conferences.