Speaking of details, the second limitation of data visualization is also, ironically enough, one of the factors which make a good chart or graphic usable in the first place. A good visual representation has clarity: a clear purpose and that purpose is clearly shown.
If we consider our long-tail distribution again, we could add indicators of total values to our chart, along with average and median values, standard deviations and so on. However, each addition reduces the clarity of our work. A narrative gloss, describing these details can be a handy addition to the visual overview.
Finally, visualizations simply do not tell the whole story in your data. They cannot capture the flow and context of a human conversation which is, in fact, our most fundamental form of collaboration. Their clarity and their specialized visual language illustrate the story, but they are not the story we are trying to tell.
This is why narrative interpretations of data are so powerful in a report or review. Your understanding of the scenario unfolds over time. Our verbal language is highly tuned to assist memory and understanding through this unfolding. And, when it comes to debate and disagreement - the most important and informative aspect of any collaboration - verbal language is our natural tool of choice.
For all these reasons, I am excited by the ability to complement the elegance of our visualizations in Qlik Sense with the unique technology of Narrative Science. Our users will understand more, learn more and collaborate more effectively than ever before.
It takes more than a picture, and less than a thousand words too!