Thinking about the reasons and theory of data visualization
Quoting Edward Tufte in the Introduction of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
Data graphics visually display measured quantities by means of the combined use of points, lines, a coordinate system, numbers, symbols, words, shading, and color ... Modern data graphics can do much more than simply substitute for small statistical tables. At their best, graphics are instruments for reasoning about quantitative information. Often the most effective way to describe, explore and summarize a set of numbers - even a very large set - is to look at pictures of those numbers. Furthermore, of all methods for analyzing and communicating statistical information, well-designed graphics are usually the simplest and at the same time the most powerful.
With that in mind, let's together consider how one can display data in chart form
The tool, however can be misused, either by intent or by ignorance
Some names to know
Edward Tufte and his three classics
- The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and as Tufte sees it
- Envisioning Information and as Tufte sees it
- Visual Explanations and as Tufte sees it
Some additional thoughts on data display
Data can be displayed in good and bad ways
You have a lot of good examples to study for inspiration and emulation.
Does it matter?
Lessons for data analysts from the Challenger disaster tells us good data display could be a life or death issue.
But there are always several different ways to view the same situation and not everyone agrees with Tufte.
Let's re-iterate our points again.