What Is Online Data Visualization?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 14 January 2020
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Online data visualization takes the complex network of information available on the Internet and simplifies it. While there are many different visualization programs, online data visualization focuses solely on the Internet and not on files found on a computer. This type of program takes information from the Internet and turns it into a graphics network. The reason for the graphics is to make the information easier to comprehend, because it usually is easier to look at and differentiate graphics when compared to a massive amount of text. Most online visualization programs are segmented, and they typically do not capture everything on the Internet.

The majority of data visualization programs perform a similar task, but there is a difference between online data visualization and the other programs. Most of the other programs are made to visualize local information, such as that on a desktop or server. With the online version, only online information is captured and displayed. This program is meant to capture online information, so these programs are often web-based; they are normally not downloaded and stored on the hard drive.


Most online data visualization programs are segmented for a certain niche. For example, a social media visualization program will outline all the user’s friends, his comments and comments to the user, any activity that affects the user’s account directly, and a list of the different social media websites to which the user belongs. Another common use for online visualization is to find similar items; this takes an item such as music or a product and maps similar items found on the Internet.

Despite having a different niche, every online data visualization program will take its network of information and turn it into a graphical representation. Some graphics are simple; an item may be represented by a colorful node or circle. Others show complex images such as a large network of colorful nerve-like lines that cover a vast amount of online information.

Visualization tactics are used, because it usually is easier to look at well-organized graphics rather than a large array of text. For example, a music player can display the names of every song a user has, but it can be easy to lose track of where a song is because the text is not differentiated. With graphics, such as the album artwork, each item is very different from the next, so it should be easier to spot an album and find a particular song.


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