Defining data visualization and knowledge buiding

Etiquette for scientists

You are a brilliant scientist and you just made an amazing discovery. You want to announce it to the world. So you prepare a few slides and decide to use that cute font, Comic Sans. After the presentation you realize that, although people praise you for your discovery, a very vocal minority mocks you for using Comic Sans. After a [...]

By | July 7th, 2016|05 Data visualization|Comments Off on Etiquette for scientists

The drummer – a data visualization bedtime story

(...) On the top of the mountain was a plain. There stood an old stone house, and in front of the house lay a great fish-pond, but behind it was a dark forest. He saw neither men nor animals, everything was quiet; only the wind rustled among the trees, and the clouds moved by quite close above his head. He went to the door [...]

By | January 19th, 2012|05 Data visualization, Context|Comments Off on The drummer – a data visualization bedtime story

A course for the invisible data visualization users

I like to call it the invisible data visualization: all those Excel charts made for private consumption by product managers, accountants, marketeers, sales reps. You can't see them but they are there, and millions of hours are spent every single year making and presenting them. Then we have the highly visible data visualization: the sexy kingdom of infographics, where marketeers, bloggers [...]

By | January 4th, 2012|05 Data visualization, Authors and Books|4 Comments

Patterns of Knowledge

Data visualization is about finding and communicating patterns. But here is an often-forgotten truism: patterns are not some kind of ready-to-wear knowledge. You can look at a chart and have an epiphany and the person next to you can dismiss it as useless. Let's see why. Is this person a friend of yours? If you are a photographer, what do [...]

By | December 14th, 2011|05 Data visualization, Design|4 Comments

Your glossy chart is more than that: it’s how you see the World.

The French call it l'air du temps, the spirit of the times. You breathe it, you wear it, you eat it. You can't escape it. Over the last 20 years, the spirit of our times gave us things like: Glossy Pie Chart   McMansion BMW X6 Jeremy Clarkson: "The X6 was conceived at a time when we all thought the [...]

By | April 24th, 2011|05 Data visualization, Context|1 Comment

Too Many Tools, Too Much Grammar, Too Little Sense

If you want to improve your data visualization skills you should think of it as a foreign language, where you use data points instead of words, charts instead of sentences, dashboards instead of paragraphs, axis and labels instead of punctuation marks. It has its own grammar, created by Bertin and improved by Tufte, Few, Cleveland and others, and a pseudo-grammar, [...]

By | March 31st, 2011|05 Data visualization, Design|Comments Off on Too Many Tools, Too Much Grammar, Too Little Sense

Data Visualization Hierarchy of Needs

Is it possible to create a “data visualization hierarchy of needs” like Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs? I've tried that in the pyramid above. Here are the details: Is it the right Medium? A chart can really help processing data and minimize information overload, but what about “chart overload”? Don’t make a chart if you don’t need one, and make [...]

By | January 24th, 2011|05 Data visualization, Design|11 Comments

Memorable Charts? Forget About It!

This too much discussed paper "found that people's accuracy in describing the embellished charts was no worse than for plain charts, and that their recall after a two-to-three week gap was significantly better. In addition, participants preferred the embellished charts". OK, let's take a deep breath. Apparently, all things being equal, you should use a junk-ridden chart because people actually [...]

By | July 15th, 2010|05 Data visualization, Design|1 Comment

The Healing Power of Statistics

A week ago, my father underwent a risky surgery. The doctors weren't sure if they should do it, given his old age, but we all agreed that letting the disease take its course was not an option. After a week, he seems to be recovering well. He was in the ICU for three days, but that seems to be a [...]

By | June 22nd, 2010|05 Data visualization, Data|7 Comments