Humans Process Visual Data Better

Published on September 15, 2014

Organizations of all stripes, shapes and sizes are drowning in a tidal wave of data.

When you look at just how much big data has expanded, it can be alarming.  For example, Google receives more than 2 million search queries every minute.  On a larger scale, humans are currently generating an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day.

Here’s one way to look at this stat: 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone.  The rise of a multitude of sources – from social media to the web to the expanded use of sensors – is making it difficult for organizations to make sense of the data.  When this occurs, it is nearly impossible to translate the information into something actionable that provides a tangible return-on-investment (ROI).

Thankfully, the rise of visual data displays or data visualization is helping to meet this need.

Visualization works from a human perspective because we respond to and process visual data better than any other type of data. In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.   Since we are visual by nature, we can use this skill to enhance data processing and organizational effectiveness.

Businesses deal with data that is highly complex, with multidimensional relationships across many different, massive data sets. These could include sales, site locations, demographics, roads, and promotions – each as their own set of complex data.

The good news is that all of this data is geospatial and can be presented in visual ways.  Data from various departments can be freed from their respective silos and create more rapid and accurate decision-making. In addition, visual information makes it easier to collaborate, and generate new ideas that impact organizational performance.

Human beings are visual creatures. As such, the time is right for organizations to implement new solutions for leveraging data visualization and unlock their true potential to meet mission and business goals.

- Harris Eisenberg, Executive Vice President

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19 comments

Steven says:

I love the data statements in here, especially “90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.” I’ve clicked on the links, and they are slightly related to the topic, but not really on point. Can you please provide citations to the research that supports this article’s statements?

Harris Eisenberg says:

Steven: The 90% reference, while cited in a number of places, originally comes from David Hyerle’s work Thinking Maps, which references some primary research from neuroscience and learning studies. A chapter from the book that discusses this can be found here: http://www.thinkingschoolsinternational.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Habits-of-Mind-and-Thinking-Maps-chapter-copy-2.pdf

Rahul says:

Yes, Most of us like to get information in form of images. The excellent fact that 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.

Marti Hopson says:

Can I ask who wrote this article please?

Harris Eisenberg says:

Marti, I can send you that information in a private email.

Jack says:

Hi there,

I’m really interested in seeing who wrote this article.

Thanks

Harris Eisenberg says:

Jack,

I can send you that information in a private email.

– Harris

Adrian Baillargeon says:

Would also like to know who wrote this article too. Thanks.

Harris Eisenberg says:

Thanks Adrian– I will email you.

Bruno de Oliveira Vaz da Costa says:

I am doing a school project on infographics and I would love to read the article too!

Rachel Jones says:

Hi,
I’m using this information in an essay and would like to refernce the author please :)

Kay says:

I would like to know who wrote this article please

Zaakirah says:

Would also like to know who wrote this article too. Thanks

julie says:

I would like to know who wrote the article too!!

Harris Eisenberg says:

I just updated the article to add my name at the bottom as author.

Laura Wall Klieves says:

So interesting. Please email me the article as well. Thanks much.

Harris Eisenberg says:

So glad you like it Laura! This here is the full text of the article.

Sinead Cooney says:

So interesting. Would love to read the full article please! Thank you.

Harris Eisenberg says:

Thanks Sinead! This is the full article.

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