Data Visualization – Lessons Based on Stephen Few

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Edward Tufte’s principle point in data visualization is to above all else – show the data. But with a too many graphical options to quantify, how does one go about creating these effective visualization? The short video presentation by Tyler Rinker tries to address this critical question.

The presentation, based on the works of Stephen Few and was presented at the Center for Literacy and Research Instruction’s 50th Anniversary Conference, focuses on designing graphs that are in tune with the brain/eye perceptual subsystem, thus maximizing graph effectiveness. Few believed that in order to effectively show the data, one needs to use pre-attentive visual attributes (length, position, motion, color, hue, intensity, blur, etc. ) to grab and direct the viewer (iconic memory), while constraining the visuals to work within the limits of working memory.

Rinker presentation is an excellent source of definitions (charts, graphics, tables, diagrams, geoms etc.), graph parts (primary data, secondary data, non-data, and chart junk), and examples (bars, boxes, lines, points, etc.). He also provides an entry level view of the brain, memory, and how it impacts the data visualization process. Finally, he wraps up with visualization do’s and don’ts (e.g., don’t use 3D – but do use faceting).



Categories: Visualization

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