Data Models are meant to communicate structure of information to recipients, who need to understand it. But who are these recipients? In fact, they are human beings. Given that, we should choose our means of communication to be the most effective that we can find. Other professionals have realized this. So what have they done?
They listened to the cognitive scientists and psychologists, and learned that vision is our primary sense (80 % of our cognition is driven from it). Here are a couple of inspiring examples of findings about human perception. First an example of visual reading:
Just a few visual clues make the difference: You’d better run, now!
Visual cognition is so powerful that we simply must exploit it.
I have an ultimate vision. Let me share it with you using the contemporary paradigm of an Agile user story:
As a Data Modeler I want to be able to use the same kind of 3D tools that other architects use so that I can easily explore and verify my design together with my stakeholders.
This means that all processes should be supported by 3D visualization tools, and that model prototypes should be available in 3D print. Architects (of buildings), designers (of things) and modelers of molecules, among others, do this everyday, now.
They know by experience that visualization of complex structures is what works for discussing, brainstorming, refining and even convincing and selling elaborate solutions. So that is what they do.
The power of visualization is backed up by solid cognitive psychology, and in our own data-centered neighborhood, advanced Analytics is more than saturated with expressive visuals.