When I first came across Raw, a free, online data visualization tool, I channeled my inner Edwin Starr and asked, “What is it good for?” It turns out the answer is “absolutely everything.” Or pretty close to it.
Raw is extremely user friendly. It’s built on D3.JS, which is pretty powerful. If you, like me, haven’t had time to explore D3 in depth (or if, also like me, you’re not sure you have the skills to take it on,) Raw greatly simplifies the process. And all of the data is processed in your browser, which means your data is never copied and stored on their servers.
So, what can Raw do for you? Well take your favorite data set and paste it into the text box (or choose from one of the four example data sets provided). Then choose from one of the 15 chart types and drag components for your data into the axes or other options for the cart type you have chosen. You can do this as many times as you like to get the data to try on different options. Finally, customize your visualization by adjusting the size, scale, and colors of your visualization before choosing how you want to export your results. It’s amazingly easy!
I created the visualization at the top of this post by feeding in some data on teachers (left) and students (right). The lines connecting them represent classes that the students had with each teacher with thin lines for one semester and thick ones for the next. I wanted to explore how students move through our program. Here, it’s easy to see that most students move up from one level to the next, but there are some that skip levels and some that repeat levels. The students and teachers are not arranged in order from lowest to highest level, though this would be possible and might make it easier to see these trends.
There are lots of other options within Raw and, depending on what your data include, some may be more useful than others. But the beauty of Raw is that you are only a couple of clicks away from any of them, making it very easy to try several visualizations until you find one you like.