What: Visual.ly is a data visualization platform that gives users the ability to create interesting infographics from a set of data without having to start from scratch or purchase expensive design software.
Visual.ly also provides services for companies that want graphics created, but don't want to use the tools. Additionally, individuals can upload portfolios to Visual.ly, which allows companies to look around for designers they like and directly reach out for help with projects.
How: As the way people find, share, and consume information changes, data visualizations are becoming an increasingly powerful way to share data. Companies view infographics as a way to create effective viral marketing and can pay up to $30,000 for a single graphic, according to Stew Langille, CEO of Visual.ly.
Visual.ly provides tools that "give people the ability to take their data or select data sets and create cool and modern-looking charts and graphics for their blog, publication, or any other purpose," he explains.
Why: One of Visual.ly's objectives was to introduce a platform that would allow people and companies to create infographics and data visualizations as a means for communicating ideas.
"Certain fundamental changes in a number of industries have brought us to the point where the time is right for this medium," he says.
Who: Visual.ly is useful for publishers, communications, PR, and marketing pros, and anyone wanting to share data and information in a visually stimulating, interesting way.
"With the rise of social media, everybody is their own publisher," notes Langille. "So we will see a lot of people creating their own graphics."
So far, CNN, Cisco, and The Wall Street Journal have all used Visual.ly. "It will be a powerful tool for PR and marketing folks," he adds.