Zeke Fanning on Vidi for Data Visualization

My name is Zeke Fanning and I work for 1234more. I’m always on the hunt for data analysis tools that help with our clients web presence. Hot Tip – Vidi: I just discovered Vidi. It is free and creates data visualizations that are embeddable on a webpage or blog. I found it surprisingly easy to use, although it overlaps with other tools that are available publicly. Vidi starts by prompting you to try out three data types:

  1. Time Data
  2. Geo Data
  3. Comparative Data

Lesson Learned: Vidi made it easy to determine whether my data set would work with each type of visualization. For each one, it spells out the data formatting that it is looking for and you can see this before importing any data. Lesson Learned: I found the geo data options to be among the strongest, and yet sorely lacking was an easy way to get your data into the format required with geographic latitude for each unit. Lesson Learned: Vidi allowed for some bad data visualizations – for instance, its default for bar charts is 3d and its gauge charts, while intriguing, might be questionable in terms of best use of space and ready interpretation. However, features such as 3d were easy to turn off and it was the user who could choose to use or not use the gauge chart (and if you had a call for one, gauges can be difficult to make – this made it easy).

Hot Tip: Vidi has an 11 minute introductory tutorial which is where I would recommend starting. Taking the time to listen to this immediately helped me to identify when Vidi might be useful, as well as what functions I might want to avoid. Got other tools you’ve found useful? I hope you will consider adding them to the comments are submitting a post. I would like to learn with you.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Want to hear more from Judy and Terri? Attend their session at AEA’s Annual Conference this November – Evaluation 2011. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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