Wednesday, September 7, 2011

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

This paper is basically about how to improve the perceptive and information quality of the well known graphs. The ordering of elementary perceptual tasks is done on the basis of the accuracy of information that is extracted from them and different types of graphs help in achieving this accuracy. It is interesting to read how the authors argue about how different improvements can be made to achieve a significant increase in the accuracy levels of the traditional graphs such as bar graph, triple scatterplot etc.

I found the paper a very good read, in terms of the advanced concepts it introduces, like using alternative graph forms like dot charts and framed rectangle charts. It helped me to understand subtle points which should be kept in mind while designing any visualization. One especially irritating point about the paper was the nature of the placement of figures and the lines where the figures were referenced lead to flipping the pages of the paper back and forth for each reference. My view about the alternatives proposed is that it will be difficult to familiarize with and perceive data represented by them, not because they are not clear in their representation, but because right from school days, we have been introduced to simple forms such as bar charts and pie charts. These, I think, will continue to be used in offices, schools and businesses for years to come.