Wednesday, September 7, 2011

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

This paper attempts to establish a standard for data analysis and presentation using graphical methods. The paper is legible because it uses examples to test and prove its theory. The paper states that alternative graph forms (dot charts) were used instead of popular graphs (bar graphs). The reason for this seemed unclear while reading the paper. I couldn’t understand what radical surgery was. The paper produces guidelines to be followed when constructing graphs to achieve maximum cognition. These guidelines’ are inferred from the perceptual tasks performed by people as they understand the graph.

10 perceptual tasks are initially identified. The paper narrates how these tasks aid in extracting quantitative information from several kinds of graphs with visual examples. The tasks are then ordered for maximum efficiency in graph perception. The authors initially hypothesize that judging length is more accurate than judging area which in turn is more accurate than judging volume. This hypothesis is believable to a reader when he looks at the examples and tries to judge for himself.