Tuesday, September 6, 2011

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

I liked the approach of authors in proving their point. Their approach includes both theory and experiments to test the science of graphs. The authors experiment with all possible types of perception on different graphical forms with concentration on different elementary tasks. These experiments adamant their theory. I like the way in which the author describes the types of graphs used to portray different elementary perceptual tasks with illustrations. The illustrations were neat and clear, with little overlap on elementary tasks which cannot be avoided. The author should have given more information on the background of the subjects. He just classifies them as technical and no technical. As, the number of subjects is pretty small, the true background of them plays a great role in the results. A civil engineer may perceive the graphs differently compared to a computer science engineer. I feel, even the perception levels of men and women differ. I personally felt the Framed-rectangle charts are much better than statistical graphs with shading. They give a much clear picture of the distribution even when the size of the graph is smaller.

I liked the way in which the authors clearly discuss both sides of the argument, based on which they make their statement. The discussion about the difference of judgments by subjects under experimental environment and real life is an example for this. But, I didn’t like way in which the authors conclude that the accuracies of judgments of technical and non-technical people are not quite different. Here they are forgot their sample size of the subjects, which very small. Though their premise about the graphical forms is not quite restrictive, I felt that their experiments tightened up their premise. Overall, the paper is a good read and it provided insights about the aptness of different graphical forms in visualizing information based on the 10 elementary tasks that they have listed.