## Monday, May 12, 2008

### Visualizing Data

To survive in today's society you need to be able to visualize information to help you process the sheer quantity of information that we are overwhelmed with every day. Read through the process I went through to determine the success of my website and have your students walk through the same process. You can download a worksheet for this activity at worksheetshare.com.

Having just developed a new website I was wondering if more people were visiting it or if I needed to try and market it some more. I started by collected the number of pages that were viewed each day.

Page views per day.
13, 5, 22, 2, 15, 12, 5, 0, 36, 8, 5, 16, 18, 3, 26, 8, 27, 9, 13, 6, 0, 0, 14, 5, 22, 20, 22, 0, 8, 38, 36, 44, 26, 47, 1, 28, 36, 46, 35, 17, 48, 14, 52, 33, 101, 19, 36, 16, 25, 22, 26, 63, 4, 32, 4, 1, 18, 36, 22, 47, 22, 1, 1

Looking at this information I found it pretty hard to determine any trends over time. Since I'm a visual person let's put it into a line graph and see if that helps.

It looks like there was a peak with a value of 101 but what about the next few days. Maybe that was just one person that really liked what was there and spent a lot of time looking around.

Lets try rearranging it, since this represents pages viewed per day one way to represent it would be to divide the numbers up onto 7 columns where each column represents a day of the week and each row represented a week.

Page views per day by week
13, 5, 22, 2, 15, 12, 5
0, 36, 8, 5, 16, 18, 3
26, 8, 27, 9, 13, 6, 0
0, 14, 5, 22, 20, 22, 0
8, 38, 36, 44, 26, 47, 1
28, 36, 46, 35, 17, 48, 14
52, 33, 101, 19, 36, 16, 25
22, 26, 63, 4, 32, 4, 1
18, 36, 22, 47, 22, 1, 1

From arranging information this way I can reasonably say that there are fewer page views on Saturday than during the rest of the week. The last line appears to have a few more page views than the first line but how does that relate to the rest of the week.

What about putting it into a nicely formatted table.
 13 5 22 2 15 12 5 0 36 8 5 16 18 3 26 8 27 9 13 6 0 0 14 5 22 20 22 0 8 38 36 44 26 47 1 28 36 46 35 17 48 14 52 33 101 19 36 16 25 22 26 63 4 32 4 1 18 36 22 47 22 1 1

That's a little better but it is still hard to tell what is going on or any trends over time.
Adding up the number of views per week gave me the following numbers.

74, 86, 89, 83, 200, 224, 282, 152, 147

This is easier to understand but still harder to see. Lets plot the graph and see if the trend is a little more visible.
I like the looks of this graph. It appears that the number of page views has increased during the first few weeks but then decreased at the end.

What about the number of visitors? Are there more people using the website or are there just a few visitors downloading more pages?

Here is the number of visits per day for the same time period. Have your students work through the data and see if trend for visitors is any different than the trend for page views.

Visitors per day:
5, 3, 4, 1, 3, 2, 3, 0, 6, 3, 3, 3, 2, 1, 6, 3, 5, 4, 3, 2, 0, 0, 7, 2, 5, 4, 6, 0, 4, 8, 5, 14, 9, 4, 1, 7, 9, 10, 11, 7, 7, 3, 8, 13, 18, 7, 5, 2, 5, 4, 9, 11, 3, 13, 1, 1, 2, 9, 8, 9, 10, 1, 1

A worksheet has been created to help students Visualize the given data.