Let’s Get Cyclical: Four Ways to Visualize Periodicity

Let’s Get Cyclical: Four Ways to Visualize Periodicity

Visualizations can be very good at helping us spot patterns in data. Often, these patterns are periodic; most often repeating in time (although periodic patterns can also appear in spatial and other data dimensions). On the day of the year that messes with our calendar’s periodicity, it seems appropriate to go over four visualization techniques that can show periodicity.

Mendeleev’s Periodic Table of the Elements


Perhaps the most famous of all periodic visualizations is the Periodic Table of the Elements. Published in its (mostly) current form by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869, the table was the first arrangement of the elements to provide predictive capabilities. The periodicity of the table predicts the chemical behavior of elements based on their atomic number. When the table was first created, several naturally occurring elements had not been discovered yet, and Mendeleev recognized they were missing based on how the properties of their... keep reading

A Musical Pyramid

Source: The World Reduced to Infographics, by Patrick Casey and Dr. Worm Miller; Ulysses Press (December 13, 2011).

Avoid Tables, Demand Visualizations!

The great thing about information visualization is it turns numerical information – which takes a high cognitive load to process – into visual information, which takes a very low cognitive load to process. Often, this process involves turning a table of numbers into a bar chart, line chart, scatter plot, or some other chart... keep reading