Taking time with visualisation

Becoming a more sophisticated reader

Spurious conclusions

  • Don’t jump to conclusions about the things you think you have derived from the display
  • Meaning of the data: representativeness of the data, assumptions
  • Causation/correlation

Pit falls/misinterpretations

  • 3D displays
  • Truncated y-axis – bar chart always bad, line chart and scatter to be aware of
  • Aspect ratios
  • Geometric calculations
  • Mapping projections
  • Pie charts exceeding 100%

Appreciation of context

  • Challenges/constraints that might be faced by the designer
  • If the font is tiny on your screen, maybe it was intended primarily for printing as a poster and would have been the right size if consumed in its native format
  • Maybe a project only had access to x% of the data at the point of being published and couldn’t, for example, plot it on a map because there was no spatial data available at the time
  • Maybe the project you are reading was aimed at specialists, people with domain knowledge, so your struggles are not a reflection of bad visualisation or any deficit on your side, it just wasn’t intended for you.
  • You might not find it interesting, other people might. You have the right not to read/play with a visualisation!
  • What would you do differently? How would you do better?