Research Visualisation: Research You Can See

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Only occasionally in history does massive technological change combine with rapid demographic trends and huge social shifts so that within the span of a decade society altogether alters.

Today we are living in one such transformation.

Therefore it’s not surprising that there is more research than ever and more data than ever, analysing the changes and identifying the trends.


We are all social researchers


It’s no longer just social researchers who are aware of these trends – in fact, it’s all of us. In the truest sense, we are all social researchers who observe our society, study the patterns around us, and draw insights and conclusions from that which we see.

In fact, we’re all visual researchers. We gather information from what we see, we gather data from what we observe. It is the research that we see that we respond to best.

Because we live in a visual world, having moved from an information era to an infographic era. In this world of big data, we need visual data that we can access as opposed to statistical tables and lengthy explanations.


Gangnam style, Gandalf, and pause


It’s images, not words, that get the true cut-through, with graphics that elicit action – whether prohibiting smoking, diving, or public displays of Gangnam style.


Symbols, not language, are truly universal – it is pictures, not statistics, that connect across language and generations. That’s why road signs come in symbol form, with even Kangaroos know when they’re supposed to cross, and Gandalf making it clear – no crossing!

The devices we now use are largely wordless. The word ‘PLAY’ is no longer required, a simple triangle tells the story. Who decided that stop would be a square, and pause would be two bars, and record would be a circle? We don’t need to stop and think – we all know their meanings.

Whether volume levels, power buttons, or wireless connectivity, we’ve seamlessly integrated to using symbols in our everyday realities, without thinking twice.

When skimming property ads, we don’t need to read the text to discover how many bedrooms or bathrooms a house has – the icons are clear enough, and even though 1.5 parking spaces might not be entirely useful, we’re nonetheless informed.

Research has impact when it tells a story, when it paints a picture, and when it’s visual – when it’s research you can see. It’s called reSEARCH for a reason, and inSIGHTS are called that because they lead to a light-bulb moment. Its’ more about visuals than tables, graphics – not just analytics – giving you a chance to see it before acting upon it.


In a world of big data-we’re for visual data. We believe in the democratisation of information-that research should be accessible to everyone not just to the stats junkies. We’re passionate about turning tables into visuals, data into videos and reports into presentations.

As researchers, we understand the methods, but we’re also designers and know what will communicate and how to best engage.

Visit researchvisualisation.com for more info.

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