Hunter Whitney’s “Data Insights” (Elsevier) Makes Data More Approachable

“Don’t Be Afraid of the Chart!” the Book’s Author Tells its Broad Audience

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Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) December 03, 2012

Data visualization is an emerging field that—in its best practices—fuses the power of technology with the accessibility of design to convey complex ideas. Author Hunter Whitney has written “Data Insights: New Ways to Visualize and Make Sense of Data,” a thought-provoking book released this month by publisher Morgan Kaufmann, an imprint of Elsevier (http://store.elsevier.com/Data-Insights/Hunter-Whitney/isbn-9780123877932/). With its overview of data visualization as well as a focus on key details, this much-anticipated work takes a somewhat unconventional approach and is accessible to a broader range of readers than many technically oriented books.

From business and healthcare to our daily social interactions, torrents of data are being captured and pooled at an exponential rate. Although this influx can seem overwhelming, there is tremendous value in the data for the people who can figure out what to do with it. This process will take time, but “Data Insights” tries to engage more people in the conversation. Technology lets us interact with data for many purposes from completing daily tasks to solving long-term, seemingly intractable problems. Visualizations are the lingua franca: They help us translate the incomprehensible masses of data and allow us to see more of the stories the world has to tell. “Data Insights” discusses what audiences don’t typically see: the components that go into making visualizations.

While it can be all too easy to overlook key aspects of data sources and the process that goes into making data visualizations, and also noting that a variety of people can look at the same representation and draw very different conclusions, Whitney is optimistic. He believes with more general awareness of the issues the field can “truly enable meaningful collaborations among people with very different types of skills.” He thinks that we can “democratize data without ‘dumbing it down’ or making it a bunch of factoids without context.”

“Data Insights,” is available in both print and digital formats at stores such as Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/data-insights-hunter-whitney/1112252098) and Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Data-Insights-Ways-Visualize-Sense/dp/0123877938) as well as area bookstores. This richly illustrated 310-page book uses case studies from business analytics, healthcare, games and security monitoring and offers multi-disciplinary perspectives to show how visualizations can help us get more insights from the data. Books on data visualization are usually coffee table tomes intended for design fetishists or jargon-heavy manuals meant for tech geeks. “I want to engage people, to get them to look, think and play with the information they encounter every day. I want to pique people’s curiosity and give them a better understanding of how the ability to interpret and use data gives us more control over our lives,” Whitney says.
Ultimately, Whitney makes the case that data visualization is not just about technology; it’s a deeply human process. “With the help of well-designed visualizations—and an awareness of our strengths and limitations—these doors can be thrown open to far greater numbers of people,” the author says.

Book Information:
Data Insights: New Ways to Visualize and Make Sense of Data
Author: Hunter Whitney
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann (an imprint of Elsevier)
Publication date: November 27, 2012
Price: $34.95
ISBN-10: 0123877938
ISBN-13: 978-0123877932
Paperback: 310 pages

Biography:
Hunter Whitney is a User Experience (UX) Designer who has created useful and usable interface designs for clients in areas ranging from bioscience and medicine to information technology and marine biology. His aim is to encourage conversations among people with diverse skills and perspectives about presenting data in ways that are more widely accessible and engaging (http://www.hunterwhitney.com).


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