Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reaction:Effectively Communicating Numbers

This is an amazing article that explains in detail the best way of representing numbers graphically! This article also explains how good graphs can be created and what kind of representations to use in a particular situation.

As it is explained in the beginning of the article that it is not always feasible to display numbers or quantitative values graphically. Sometimes even tabular representation does a very good job. In fact if you really want to know the actual value then use of the tabular format is a must to get an accurate answer while the graphical format is very useful if you want to study some kind of a pattern. This is explained quite well through figures 3 and 4 in the article.

Then the article mainly deals with the quantitative data, explaining what quantitative data actually means, what relationships exist in quantitative data- time-series relationships, ranking relationships, deviation relationships etc. The article also explains the best way in which data can be encoded in graphs. Figure 16 is a good example to explain that 2-D areas don’t accurately help in displaying quantitative values, but points, lines, bars and boxed are more appropriate ways of explaining data.

I think overall I got to learn a lot from this paper. I never knew that there was so much thinking and planning involved while developing a graphical representation or at least I have never thought so much before using a bar graph or line for representing data. But after reading this paper I know exactly what to use when!