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A picture is worth a thousand words. That's why we love visualization tools. Often, you need a better way than text to present information, especially when you're a startup showing the world something new. Whether it's pitching an investor, diagramming a process or showing website visitors where your social network's members are located, visual display can be an awesome tool. Charts, maps, visual quizzes, games and diagrams are all ways to showcase information visually to help viewers grasp it quickly. Fortunately, tools to make all of these quickly and easily are springing up like mushrooms after a rain. We decided to showcase a few of our favorite visualization tools:
This is our favorite. MapMe is an Israeli startup that built a tool that lets you create and publish beautiful interactive maps of your data with no coding involved. You can enter data manually or upload an excel file, and get awesome outputs. You can add crowdsourcing of data, reviews, ratings and events. You can also personalize map markers with icons, images, contact info, etc. For easily gathering and displaying lots of geographically-linked data without digging into code, MapMe is as good as it gets.
Potential applications include:
- Building your own social network and letting visitors see where each other is located. For instance, if you want to create a dating site, MapMe is a great way to help people find each other without having to grind through lists sorted by distance.
- creating a visual yellow pages for your target market. Let's say you are making a site that lets users find sources of biodiesel in their area. MapMe is an awesome way to seed a map with a list of biodiesel suppliers, and then let follow-on suppliers register themselves.
- Creating social credibility for potential site users by showing them how many people in their area are already registered.
Built by a German group of journalists and developers called Journalism++ Cologne, Datawrapper is an open-source tool that lets you paste a data series or upload a CSV. You then select a chart type (bar chart, column chart, line chart, map, etc.) and Datawrapper graphs your data in an accessible form. You can then publish and embed your chart online. Here's one I worked up for European youth unemployment in about 30 seconds, using a sample data set:
Datawrapper applications include:
- Building all sorts of charts, bar graphs and maps for presentations to potential partners and investors.
- Showing product usage patterns.
- Creating a static map as a snapshot of user/viewer distribution worldwide.
- Doing anything else you can do with Excel charts, but faster and with less pain.
A fun way to interact with potential customers and followers is by sharing interactive quizzes with them. Qzzr lets you do just that. You can embed custom images and videos in your quizzes to give them whatever look you'd like. Check out this e-commerce-themed quiz we worked up: [qzzr quiz="139001" width="100%" height="auto" redirect="true" offset="0"]
As a startup, you can use visual quizzes to:
- Increase shares of your content. The average quiz gets shared 1900 times.
- Boost engagement on social networks, especially Facebook.
- Easily stay topical, by using tools like BuzzSumo to see which relevant topics are trending and then create quizzes around them.
Ways that you can use Leaflet as a startup include:
- Creating custom maps and imagery inside your application or website.
- Automatically mapping your visitors' location and creating a path to your nearest location/partner store/outlet that carries your product.
- Integrate with your WordPress-based site easily using MapsMarket Pro (paid) or WordPress Leaflet Map (free).
- Set up map-based analytics with MapTiks.
Ways to use Gliffy for startups include:
- Developing clear and easy flowcharts to show users how to use your app or site.
- Creating and sharing diagrams for your team to coordinate development.
- Sharing diagrams on social media and forums-this can be especially effective if you are doing content marketing to technically advanced users.
These are the best visualization tools that we as a startup have come across and found useful for their ease of use and powerful applications. Do you have your own preferred visualization tools? Let us know in the comments below!