Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reactions: Effectively Communicating Numbers

The white paper, entitled “Effectively Communicating Numbers” provides a step-by-step how to guide for creating effective and appealing visualizations of quantitative data. This paper provides extensive amounts of data that elucidate much information from scattered fields required for proper visualization. The easiest way to provide a good understanding of this paper is to summarize in bullet points:
·         Elegant examples of what to do and what not to do, and what the process is in determing this using 6 steps. (listed below)
·         Comparisons across the different data representation types, such as tables versus graphs and quantitative verses categorical data
·         Background knowledge about types of data
a.       Nominal
b.      Ordinal
c.       Interval
·         Types of data relations
a.       Time-series
b.      Ranking
c.       Part-to-whole
d.      Deviation
e.      Distribution
f.        Correlation
g.       Nominal Comparison
·         Encoding Quantitative Data
a.      Points
b.      Lines
c.       Bars
d.      Boxes
·         Removing distractions
·         Design Decisions for Data Representation (the six steps)
a.      Determining messange and identifying data
b.      Determine visual type, table or graph
c.       Determine encoding type by relationship type
d.      Variable display
e.      Visual design of remaining objects
                                                                          i.      Range and scale
                                                                        ii.      Legend placement and necessity
                                                                      iii.      Axis markings
                                                                       iv.      Axis position
                                                                         v.      Gridding
                                                                       vi.      Descriptions
f.        Special feature recognition

Each of these bullet point marks a particular section in the paper and is expanded upon to included the relationship between the various bullets and how to effectively implement them. With all this in mind, the original 6 points are all that seem to matter for appropriate and effect visual communication.