Researchers turn spreadsheets into visualizations for tablets

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed an application called Kinetica that’s designed to let iPad users sort through data in a manner better suited for tablet devices than traditional spreadsheets. In Kinetica, data points are represented as colored spheres. Instead of analyzing data via dropdown menus and typing in functions, it’s analyzed via gestures.

The idea behind Kinetica is obvious, and one that some startups have begun investigating as well: In a mobile-first business world, users will need data-analysis tools that don’t require them to manipulate tables full of values, type complex functions or write specialized code. Because they have small screens and typically aren’t connected to real keyboards, tablets and mobile devices are arguably better suited to visual and gesture-based interfaces. Younger users might require that experience.

I’ve also covered a startup called ZoomData that sells something similar to Kinetica. The company has built an business intelligence application designed for tablets, on which users swipe between visualizations and data palettes to filter, compare or otherwise analyze their data.

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