In his 2007 book Visualizing Data, Ben Fry breaks down the data visualization process into 7 common steps:
- Acquire: Obtain the data, whether from a file on a disk or a source over a network.
- Parse: Provide some structure for the data’s meaning, and order it into categories.
- Filter: Remove all but the data of interest.
- Mine: Apply methods from statistics or data mining as a way to discern patterns or place the data in mathematical context.
- Represent: Choose a basic visual model, and draw the data.
- Refine: Improve the basic representation to make it clearer, more meaningful, and more visually engaging.
- Interact: Add methods for manipulating the data or controlling what features are visible.
However, this is not a linear process. It is iterative.