What Is Information Visualization And What Can It Help Me With?

Updated February 6, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Many of us experience an overflow of information on a regular basis. We truly live in the information age where facts, data, and other information seems to fly at us from left and right. There's a lot of data and information we use to make decisions and understand the world around us, but how does our mind process it? How can we learn to prioritize the things that actually matter to us the most? One way to achieve this goal may be through a process known as information visualization.

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What Is Information Visualization?

Information visualization refers to the practice of using visual means–charts, tables, drawings, etc.–to showcase information in a way that’s easy to understand and manipulate. 

You may be familiar with information visualization techniques at school or in the workplace. Creating spreadsheets, tables, graphs, and other visual tools to put abstract or numerical information into one place is something that we may do quite often.

Applying this idea to daily life can be a little less straightforward, though. There are lots of ways to take advantage of information visualization: you might create a mood or inspiration board, chart your progress on goals, or something else entirely. How you use visualization can be up to you. 

How Information Visualization Is Used

Information visualization can be useful in many parts of our lives, especially when it comes to speaking where words can’t.

For instance, if someone wants to present their information, be it a journalist, your boss, or someone giving a speech, trying to communicate everything through words alone can be tricky, if not impossible. Trying to convey the emotions felt by bystanders who have witnessed a major event in words, for instance, may be far less impactful on an audience than showing images or video footage.

Visualization can help people to present their findings more effectively, too. If someone has written an article about how a city has crumbling infrastructure, a map may be useful to show the magnitude of the problem. Maps in general serve as a great example, too; verbal instructions might be confusing or subject to error, but seeing something on a page may make more sense.

How You Can Take Advantage Of Information Visualization

Whether it be on the job or for your personal life, learning how to use visual tools to make sense of information can be an effort well-worth pursuing. Many people find that seeing something on a page helps them better process and understand its meaning.

If you’d like to buy a house, for instance, but feel overwhelmed by all that might go into it, you might find sitting down and sketching it out to be beneficial. You might create a graphic organizer that lists all that you do know, what you need to research, and what you need to double check to help you get started. Or you might create a document for yourself that lists out your budget, your wants, and any questions you might have.

Practices like these can take something that seems overly complicated and break it down into pieces that you feel you can manage.

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Seeking Professional Help

Techniques like information visualization can help you take charge of different things in life, but doing so isn’t always easy, nor is it always something you feel equipped to do on your own. Speaking to a licensed mental health professional, like a therapist, may help you discover how to take advantage of this method and others to organize, plan, and reflect on the things you care about most.

An easy and accessible way to receive support and advice may be through online therapy. Because you can meet with a provider at a time and from a location that makes sense for your schedule, online therapy can make it simple to incorporate time dedicated to this goal into your routine.

In addition to being convenient, online therapy is also capable of creating real change in your daily life. One review of 17 studies exploring the benefits of online cognitive behavioral therapy found it to be just as, if not more effective than in-person counseling for treating mental health symptoms. Even if you’re not living with a mental illness, the insight a therapist can offer may help you feel more equipped to navigate challenges in life as well as successes. 


Information visualization refers to taking words, thoughts, and ideas and creating a visual representation of them. This practice can help us understand things more deeply, connect with information on a more personal level, and break down complex topics into digestible pieces. You can use information visualization in your own life to plan and organize your goals, among other things, especially with the help of a mental health professional.

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