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Sightings: A Vennerable Challenge

Sightings: A Vennerable Challenge

Venn diagrams are a strange mix of structure and data visualization. In my latest Sightings column (PDF) for American Scientist, I use the example of a visualization challenge from last year to discuss different ways to show the same data about diagnosis techniques for autism in young children. This also sparked the launch of a new site feature: Ask Eagereyes.

Regular readers of this website will perhaps remember the Autism diagnosis accuracy redesign challenge originally posted on Nuit Blanche, which asked for better ways to show data that had been displayed in a Venn diagram. There were a number of interesting designs, and I also contributed one. All of these were clearly better than the original, but I was most interested in the ones that showed the structure of the data. So I ended up talking about my own redesign as well as Patrick Murphy's redesign of mine.

Ask EagerEyes is an extension of what I am trying to achieve with Sightings (which I took over from Felice Frankel in the summer): to make the scientific community aware of information visualization and to get a better understanding of the problems scientists are facing in analyzing their data and communicating their results. The autism case study is a great example for the need for a better understanding of these questions.

But Ask EagerEyes is not limited to scientific data. If you have any kind of data you would like to understand better, or have a visualization of data that you think could be improved, drop me a note. The reason this is not part of a forum is that I want to make it possible to discuss problems that involve confidential or otherwise unpublished data. Eventually, of course, I hope to be able to talk about the problems posed and solutions found on this site. Some of the questions might also become challenges for my dear readers.

Posted by Robert Kosara on December 21, 2008. Filed under Sightings.