Datavisualisation: what can you see?

In this blogpost I am zooming in into understanding how visual informatie is processed by

  • Describing the underlying principles of perceptual organization
  • Explain why design should support visual queries
  • Describe the main guidelines for information visualization

Effective visualisations

Kosara 2002

“Visualization is so effective and useful because it utilizes one of the channels to our brain that have the highest bandwidths: our eyes. But even this channel can be used more or less efficiently.” https://infovis-wiki.net/wiki/Preattentive_processing and https://kosara.net/papers/2002/Kosara-VisSym-2002.pdf

What makes a visualisation efficient for visual processing?

Effective visualization:

  • Allow people to find relevant information
    • information may be present but hard tot find
  • Allow people to compute desired conclusions
    • computations may be difficult or “for free” depending on representations

Edward R. Tufte wrote in his book “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” that “Modern data graphics can do much more than simply substitute for small statistical tables. At their best, graphics are instruments for reasoning about quantitative information. Often the most effective was to describe, explore, and summarize a set of numbers – even a very large set – is to look at pictures of those numbers. Furthermore, of all methods for analyzing and communicating statistical information, well-designed data graphics are usually the simplest and at the same time the most powerful.”

“… At their best, graphics are instruments for reasoning about quantitative information…”

Edward R. Tufte in the introduction to “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” http://www.econ.upf.edu/~michael/visualdata/tufte-aesthetics_and_technique.pdf

Process of seeing: features, patterns, objects

https://jov.arvojournals.org

Pre-attentive processing

Patterns & Gestalt

Visual encoding

Jacques Bertin’s visual variables

https://towardsdatascience.com/data-visualization-a-catalyst-to-human-cognition-4c851e8f7b2

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Bertin

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