Ri Liu, one of the data visualisation finalists for the #datafest2015 competition is now describing her process of developing the visualisation.
Traditional tools are good for research, but make it difficult to engage with. So may need another approach.
A different starting point is data as art, using and example that takes inspiration from musical notation.
Or we could think about data as storytelling. There's a session in that later.
Or data as exploration. It doesn't start from telling a clear story but rather to allow users to interrogate the dataset. These tend to be visualisations with high information density.