Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reaction: Graphical Perception - Theory, Experimentation, and Application to the Development of Graphical Methods

In this paper author approaches the science of graphs through human graphical perception. Their approach includes both theory and experimentation to test it.

To test the above, two experiments were run in which subjects were supposed to judge bar and pie charts. For each type of judgment, subjects made visual evaluations and the result of the two experiments substantiated the theory i.e. position judgments were more accurate than length judgments and angle judgments.

Using the Bootstrap tool, author examined the sampling distribution of the error means and proved his experiment by giving mathematical justifications also. One good thing about the paper is that even after the authors have justified their theories/experiments, they stress on revising the theory as new experimental data is collected. The paper not only presents the graphical forms, which are used in data presentation but also in data analysis. Triple Scatterplots is one such tool for comprehending the structure of 3-D data.

Another impressive thing about the paper is that all the graphs and charts are so coherent and unambiguous instead of displaying pretty much data.

According to author, inspite of this theory having some limitations, it has produced very good results. Its application to some of the popular charts in graphical communication has led to replacements. The paper says that we should keep proceeding in the field of graphics and to do so, must be prepared to discard the old methods with the new and better ones.