Annotations are what set visual communication and journalism apart from just visualization. They often consist of text, but some of the most useful annotations are graphical elements, and many of them are very simple. One type I have a particular fondness for is the diagonal reference line, which has been used to provide powerful context in past news pieces, and is making a comeback in the COVID-19 charts.
Communication has been quite a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, and data visualization hasn't been the most helpful given the low quality of the data – see Amanda Makulec's plea to think harder about making another coronavirus chart. A great example of how to do things right is the widely-circulated Flatten the Curve information graphic/cartoon. Here's a look at the work it is built on and how that has evolved from a figure in an academic paper to one of the clearest pieces of visual communication in some time.
Visualization turns data into images, but are images themselves data? There are often claims that they are, but then you mostly see the images themselves without much additional data. In this video, I look at image browsers, a project classifying selfies along a number of criteria, and the additional information stored in HEIC that makes things like portrait mode and relighting possible.
This book from 1945 contains a very interesting mix of different charts made by the ISOTYPE Institute, some classic and some quite unusual. As a book about labor and unemployment, it also makes extensive use of Gerd Arntz’s famous unemployed man icon.
Alberto Cairo’s new book, How Charts Lie, takes readers on a tour of how charts are used and misused, and teaches them how to not be misled. It’s a useful book for both makers and consumers of charts, in the news, business, and pretty much anywhere else.
We all use data all the time, but what exactly is data? How do different programs know what to do with our data? How is visualizing data different from other uses of data? And isn’t everything inside a computer data in the end?
Prolific is a crowd-sourcing platform for running studies. In contrast to the widely-used Mechanical Turk, it’s specific to studies, has a much better interface, pricing that’s fair to participants, and useful filters to find the right people for your study.
How do we read pie charts? This seems like a straightforward question to answer, but it turns out that most of what you’ve probably heard is wrong. We don’t actually know whether we use angle, area, or arc length. In a short paper at the VIS conference this week I’m presenting a study I ran to answer this question – a study using 3D pie charts!
How we read pie charts is still an open question: is it angle? Is it area? Is it arc length? In a study I'm presenting as a short paper at the IEEE VIS conference in Vancouver next week, I tried to tease the visual cues apart – using modeling and 3D pie charts.
Charts usually show values as visual properties, like the length in a bar chart, the location in a scatterplot, the area in a bubble chart, etc. Unit charts show values as multiples instead. One famous example of these charts is called ISOTYPE, and you may have seen them in information graphics as well. They’re an interesting family of charts and they seem to have some unusual properties that most other charts don’t have.