Tuesday, September 6, 2011

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

The objective of this paper seems to be to analyse what are the tasks that happen when people extract quantitative information from visualizations, and to arrive at an ordering of these tasks ranging from the easiest to the hardest.The idea is to create visualizations where there are more easy tasks to perform than hard.The tasks here are elementary perceptual operations at the human-graphical interface.The authors have conducted extensive studies to first isolate the tasks, and then to study how easy or difficult the task is through experiments. Based on their studies, several recommendations are made.One of the authors' recommendations are to use alternative graph forms like dot charts,dot charts with grouping and framed rectangle charts.

My point of view is that familiarity is one of the human traits which is often associated with the perceived difficulty levels.People are educated about bar charts and pie charts at school. The level of exposure and thus familiarity to dot charts or framed rectangle charts is less and thus the perceived difficulty associated with representing data in these forms due to non familiarity will be a deterring factor for people.Hence,bar charts and pie charts will continue to be used.Also the experiment carried out doesn't take into account age differences.Children can learn bar charts and pie charts easily due to their visual appeal and thus these charts may be a better form to use in school education.Aesthetics and familiarity will also ensure people will continue to use bar and pie charts in their office presentations.I also felt that the paper could have had better image positioning.Many diagrams and figures were located in the next pages, and one had to flip back and forth between the pages while reading.The tests and distributions in the experiments require some prerequisite statistical and mathematical knowledge.The quantitative analysis of the experiments required in-depth reading.