Published on

January 3, 2024


What is Data Visualization? Understanding the Basics

Dive into the world of data visualization and uncover AI-enhanced techniques to simplify complex data analysis and supercharge your decision-making process
Julia Dunlea
VP of Marketing

Businesses are faced with so much information every single day – it can be tricky to keep up. To navigate this sea of data and transform it into actionable insights, the ability to represent data visually is essential. Data visualization, like charts, can show patterns, resulting in leaders and analysts seeing relevant opportunities, mitigating risks, and achieving new outcomes.

Data visualization promotes collaboration, transcends tech barriers, and summarizes entire projects in accessible ways. 

Visuals work as a universal language, transforming raw facts into clear data sets for stakeholders, clients, and teams. They can help you to swiftly spot trends and anomalies so you can get ahead of the competition.

Mastering data visualization is a necessity for success. As companies aim to expand their online presence, it becomes the key to translating complexity into clarity, unlocking the true potential of information. 

Now, let's explore the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Business Intelligence (BI) tools to help you get started!

Data visualization types: An overview of reports, charts, and graphs

Please note that this list isn’t every visualization technique, but it will give you an understanding of various visualization methods. To illustrate these examples, we'll use Akkio, a versatile data visualization tool.

Bar chart

Bar chart presenting the distribution of songs across genres within Akkio

A bar chart presents data using rectangular bars, with the length of each bar proportionate to the data it represents. It's commonly used to compare categories or display categorical data. Bar charts are effective for showing the distribution of data within distinct groups. These are great for quick-glance data. 

In Akkio, a bar chart can vividly depict sales figures for different product categories over a specific time period, aiding businesses in understanding their product performance. 

Line graph

A line graph displays data points connected by lines, typically used to exhibit trends or changes in data over time. They are ideal for showing continuous data or predictions.

An optimal use case for using this chart type is to create line graphs that showcase the stock price of a company over several months, making it easier to track and analyze financial market fluctuations.

Pie chart

Pie chart within Akkio

A pie chart is a circular graph divided into sectors, with each sector representing a proportion or percentage of a whole. It's typically used to explain the contribution of each component to a larger number.

A prime scenario for employing this chart type is to visually represent the composition of a company's revenue by product category, providing a quick and clear insight into where the revenue is coming from.

Scatter plot

A scatter plot displays individual data points on a two-dimensional plane and is used to visualize the relationship or correlation between two continuous variables. They can reveal patterns, correlations, or outliers.

A good use case for this chart is when showing the relationship between a person's age and income, aiding in identifying potential trends or anomalies in your data.

Scatter matrix (pair plot)

Scatter matrices in Akkio display scatter plots for multiple pairs of variables, making it easy to explore relationships in multi-dimensional data.

A scatter matrix generated using Akkio can reveal correlations between various features in a dataset.


People often get confused between bar charts and histograms, but they are very different forms of data visualization. A histogram represents the distribution of a single variable by dividing the data into bins or intervals and displaying the frequency or count of data points within each bin. They are typically used to explain the distribution of a single variable across a population. 

Box plot (box-and-whisker plot)

Box plots in Akkio provide a summary of the distribution of data, including measures of central tendency and variability. They are useful for explaining the distribution of values without the influence of outliers.

An effective example application for this chart type would be showing the distribution of home prices in a neighborhood, allowing for a detailed comparison of multiple samples or variables side by side.

Violin plot

Violin plots combine elements of box plots and density plots. They represent data in a similar way to box plots but include a description of the distribution of the data.

These plots can effectively visualize data like the distribution of customer ages in e-commerce conversions, aiding businesses in understanding the demographics of their customer base.

The role of AI and BI tools in data visualization

Artificial intelligence tools

AI tools encompass software and systems that harness machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence techniques to analyze, interpret, and manipulate data. 

They are instrumental in identifying patterns, making forecasts, and suggesting actions based on data. Importantly, AI tools are versatile in handling various data types, whether they are structured or unstructured, and can work with diverse data formats.

Business intelligence tools

BI tools are software applications or platforms designed to collect, transform, and present data in a manner that facilitates business decision-making. 

Their primary focus is collecting, transforming, and presenting historical and current data to help organizations understand their past and present performance. 

BI tools excel in descriptive analytics, which involves summarizing historical data to glean insights into what happened and why it happened. These tools often generate reports and dashboards to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and draw data from structured sources like databases and spreadsheets.

Akkio offers businesses a dual benefit: it harnesses AI for in-depth data analysis and leverages BI for crafting visualizations and generating actionable recommendations. This combined approach supercharges data visualization, providing a holistic perspective on past, present, and future data scenarios.

Advantages of AI-powered BI tools in data visualization include: 

  1. Rapid visualization generation: AI-powered BI tools speed up creating visualizations. They automate the generation of charts, graphs, and reports, reducing the time and effort required to visualize data. 
  2. Empower non-technical users: Non-technical users can interact with data and create visualizations independently. Business professionals don’t need to rely solely on data experts or data analysts to explore and visualize data, democratizing access to data insights.
  3. Real-time interactive dashboards: These tools enable the creation of interactive dashboards that update in real-time. This interactivity empowers users to explore data dynamically, drill down into specific details, and gain deeper insights, all with the convenience of real-time updates.
  4. Data quality and cleansing: Many BI tools with AI capabilities offer data quality and cleansing functionalities. They can identify and rectify data inconsistencies and errors, which is pivotal for ensuring the accuracy of visualizations and data-driven decisions.
  5. Customizable visualizations: Users can tailor visualizations and dashboards to suit their needs. The flexibility offered by AI and BI tools allows for designing visuals customized for different audiences or purposes, ensuring that data is presented in the most relevant and impactful way.

Akkio: Your AI partner in no-code data visualization

Data is a goldmine of information waiting to be uncovered. The challenge, however, lies in harnessing this wealth of data effectively. This is where Akkio comes in. 

Akkio is a powerful and user-friendly generative BI platform that integrates the capabilities of AI and Machine Learning (ML) to help businesses with predictive analytics, forecasts, and data visualization.

Akkio, unlike many traditional BI tools, is not confined to the realm of data scientists and analysts. It is designed for all users, regardless of their technical background. With Akkio, you don't need to be a data scientist to create fully customized data visualizations tailored around metrics and insights that matter most to you and your team.

One of Akkio's standout features is its vast library of over 20 chart types, including the charts we've explored earlier in this article. This extensive range is a unique selling point, as it ensures that there's a chart suited for every conceivable use case. Whether you need a bar chart, line graph, or a more specialized visualization, Akkio has it covered.

Using Akkio to simplify your data 

But it's not just about having a wide variety of charts at your disposal. Akkio provides you with the means to fine-tune your plots. You can choose the right colors, labels, and other details to ensure your visualizations precisely convey the message you intend. Customization is a key feature, giving you the freedom to design visuals that resonate with your audience.

One of the many advantages of Akkio is its integration capabilities. Rather than manually uploading data continuously, Akkio facilitates data collection by seamlessly integrating with various data sources. This saves users precious time and streamlines the data acquisition process, ensuring that your data is up-to-date and readily available for analysis and visualization.

Creating data visualizations with Akkio is a user-friendly process, thanks to its intuitive interface. But it goes beyond mere chart creation. Akkio offers an integrated ecosystem that comprises Chat Data Prep and Chat Explore:

Chat Data Prep

Chat Data Prep is your partner for data cleaning and transformation. It streamlines the process of preparing your data for visualization, making sure it's accurate, consistent, and ready for analysis. With this feature, you can eliminate data inconsistencies and errors, ensuring the reliability of your visualizations.

Chat Explore

Chat Explore is your gateway to discovering the insights that deserve representation. It comes equipped with Generative Reports and live reporting capabilities:

  • Generative reports: With Generative Reports, Akkio uses AI and ML algorithms to automatically generate detailed insights from your data. It's like having an AI-driven analyst at your disposal, uncovering patterns and trends that might go unnoticed. This feature is instrumental in guiding your data visualization efforts by highlighting the most significant findings.
  • Live reporting: Live reporting in Akkio ensures that your data insights are always current. You can create dashboards and reports that update in real-time, providing you and your team with the latest information at a glance. 

With Akkio, you can dive into your data, uncover insights, and create visualizations that tell the story of your business.

Enhance your data visualization capabilities with Akkio

Data visualization is now more important than ever within business. It is the cornerstone for unraveling, portraying, and distributing insights with clarity and impact. Data visualization steers informed decision-making. 

Choosing the right data visualization tool becomes important, as it dictates the apt chart type for extracting meaningful insights from complex data, making it an indispensable asset for any business.

Akkio, a user-friendly generative BI platform, is your essential tool for elevating your data visualization capabilities. It's designed for every team member, regardless of their technical background. With Akkio, you can effortlessly explore data, create effective data visualizations, and generate insightful reports that drive your business forward.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to supercharge your data-driven decision-making. Check out Akkio's pricing plans today and embark on a data visualization journey that empowers your team and transforms how you use data.

Your data has stories to tell, and Akkio will help you bring those stories to life!

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