Data Visualization and Cognitive Perception

What is Data Visualization

Adrian Galvin
2 min readFeb 27, 2021

Data viz is the act of reducing complex and disorganized data into a clear visual form which conveys information in a choreographed manner. It’s purpose is to help people understand ideas that are too large in scale, too complex in nature, or too abstract in form to normally be understood by the human mind.

Show viz stuff

  • First we will examine the data. I will provide well structured datasets which are simple enough to use that you can open them in excel and go from there.
  • We will look for anomalies, insights, and finally narratives within the data
  • Every dataset is different and must be approached differently, if there is an interest we can perform more complex analyses with Python, or experimental with visual coding environments like processing.
  • Study detailed visualization techniques, as they relate to cognitive perception
  • Color: not every color is equally seen by the human eye
  • Line length: is very easy to understand, imagine a line twice as long as another
  • Area, it is hard to perceive how much larger one circle is than another
  • All of these decisions impact how your viewer perceives your message, you get to direct them toward what to think about a complex topic, and you can do so by making clear visual choices
  • Essentially, good data visualization allows you to tell your story in a convincing way, that can influence other people.
  • Is the power of story great?
  • If you want the public to understand climate change
  • If you want to present to business leaders and have them fund your idea
  • If you want to convince your leaders that there is a problem they don’t understand
  • If you want to work with advanced technologies like AI and ML
  • Data visualization gives you the tools to make action happen by convincing others to listen to your perspective
  • On that topic, data choreography, how you present a complex story.



Adrian Galvin

design • science • visualization • illustration • jiu jitsu