Limn is a site dedicated to data and data visualisation news and resources. There is a general focus on South Africa and African data, and data visualisation technologies and projects. The site is owned and maintained by Jeff Fletcher, an engineer and product developer.
Much of this product development work includes market and financial analysis and presentations of the data to help make effective decisions. The process of providing this type of analysis lead to me study and learn more about the field of data visualisation to the point that I am now able to successfully use the techniques and technologies outside of product development.
The skills required for producing effective data visualisations are quite varied, and most people practising in the field will have certain strengths and weaknesses. The 4 main areas of focus are:
To analyse and extract meaningful results from data, you will need to perform some manipulations and be able to summarise the numbers. This is mostly statistics, but a good engineering or computer science maths course helps a lot.
Almost all data is in now digital format, and most output is too. Doing effective manipulation of the inputs and outputs requires programming skills.
The visual part of data visualisation requires an understanding of good graphic design principles to make the visualisations usable. Developing a sense of aesthetics to make the visualisations enticing requires practice.
- Story Telling
Perhaps the most important skill is that of story telling. It starts by being curious about something that has underlying data and extracting an answer to the question from the data. The key to a good visualisation is to be able to present the question and the answer as a compelling story.