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7 Ways To Visualise Data Without Excel

7 Ways To Visualise Data Without Excel

If you’re at all familiar with Microsoft Excel, chances are you’ve used it at one point or another to organize and present critical data. And chances are you’ve thought to yourself, “There must be a better way.” As it turns out, you were right. From charting global statistics on malaria to creating stunning charts and graphs or crafting maps that tell a story, here are 7 data visualization tools you should be using right now.

1. Nuvi

Nuvi is a tool that lets you see what’s happening, in real time, on social media. Keep track of followers, engagement and comments in your Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram accounts to stay ahead of the game in your industry. Their bubble stream view allows you to see social interaction going on in real time. The bigger the dot, the more influential the entity. Green represents positive sentiment, red negative, and blue neutral. Use these patterns and insights to tailor your decisions to get the most returns on your investment.

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Nuvi

    2. Exhibit

    Created by MIT, Exhibit lets you quickly and easily create web pages with charted worldwide data, interactive maps and historical data sets. Create a map with flags of the world, an interactive bubble flag hovering over every country. Design a map of the United States with interactive bubbles over the most populated cities—the bigger the bubble, the more populated the city. Think of some statistic or fact you want to display with some kind of map, and let Exhibit help you create it. Exhibit is maintained and developed in an open-source community.

    exhibit

      3. DataHero

      Use DataHero to chart business data and get actionable insights to make business decisions. DataHero can work with your data in almost any form, whether it’s online, in cloud storage drives, or in excel. You’ll be able to create excel dashboards, beautiful charts, and interactives that will allow you to make important decisions in real time. DataHero also connects to applications like Hubspot, Shopify, Zendesk and dozens more to make using your data with your favorite apps all too easy.

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      DataHero

        4. Kartograph

        Created with the needs of designers and data journalists in mind, Kartograph is a source for building interactive maps without needing to use any other kind of mapping service. It is most useful for charting defined data, not worldwide data, and does so quickly and effectively. Kartograph gives you a lot of options when it comes to mapping information and lets you do so in compact SVG maps as well as interactive maps that run across all major browsers.

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        kartograph

          5. Visual.ly

          A brainchild of former Mint.com employees, Visual.ly is a community platform for data visualizations, making it easy to create infographics, videos, interactives, presentations and micro-content. The site is both a showcase for infographics as well as a marketplace and community for researchers, publishers and designers. Create a profile, craft and publish visualizations to it, and then share the visualizations through your social platforms.

          Visual.ly

            6. Dipity

            Bring history to life by creating a stimulating and visually appealing timeline with Dipity. Create, share, embed and collaborate on a timeline that integrates a number of features, including image, video, audio, text, links and more. Dipity offers both free and premium versions for those with different needs. The premium version, for example, allows for custom branding and backgrounds as well as custom iPhone apps. Create a timeline and it could be featured in their “trending topics” area.

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            Dipity

              7. Better World Flux

              This data visualization tool displays some of the world’s more distressing data but does so in an attractive way. Select different countries and indicators like “access to water” and “happiness score” to look at and track progress made. Though you can’t upload your own data, the data available to look at is extensive and spans decades. Better World Flux is also quick and easy to use and allows for an interesting interactive ride.

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              Better World Flux

                Featured photo credit: Nuvi Reviews, Price/Costs and Features via aboutanalytics.com

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                Last Updated on July 21, 2021

                The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

                No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

                Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

                Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

                A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

                Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

                In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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                From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

                A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

                For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

                This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

                The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

                That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

                Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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                The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

                Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

                But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

                The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

                The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

                A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

                For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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                But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

                If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

                For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

                These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

                For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

                How to Make a Reminder Works for You

                Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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                Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

                Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

                My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

                Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

                I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

                More on Building Habits

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                Reference

                [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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