Section 003, Instructor: Laurel Miller

Weekly Question #4: Complete by September 29, 2016

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on September 29, 2016. Remember, it only needs to be three or four sentences. For these weekly questions, I’m mainly interested in your opinions, not so much particular “facts” from the class!

Here is the question:

Take a look at the Hoven article from this week (“Stephen Few on Data Visualization: 8 Core Principles”). Which one of the eight principles do you think is most important? Why?

56 Responses to Weekly Question #4: Complete by September 29, 2016

  • I think the most important principle is “be skeptical”. I believe this because being skeptical makes you a better researcher and gives you greater knowledge and or understanding. We sometimes believe the first thing we see or hear, however sometimes these things tend to not be true or their is more to the picture that we are not seeing. If you are skeptical you will dig deeper into the first thing you see or hear and be able to confirm or deny this information. All around being skeptical will help you learn more and understanding things deeper.

  • I believe that the most important principle is to simplify. Often times I find myself not wanting to look over this massive list of numbers or pictures where you don’t know whats going on. The more simple the better, because that will lead to more people actually knowing what you are talking about and understanding what information you are trying to give. Whenever we look up data in class and a page loads filled with information all over the place, my typical reaction is to just close the tab. So the more simple you keep it the easier it will be to get your point across.

  • I think the most important principle is “Ask Why” because just understanding what is happening isn’t enough. Understanding why it’s is happening allows you to take action. If you understand why, you can change different variables accordingly to get the results you are looking for.

  • I think the most important principle is simplify. Something simple can tell a whole story with the right elements. Not many people like to read or see an abundance of numbers and text. It will be easy on the eyes while allowing you to take in all the information if anything were to be simple. It will also be less risky of being boring.

  • I think the most important principle is “Simplify.” Like the beginning of the article says, “good data visualization takes the burden of effort off the brain and puts it on the eyes.” Tools need to be user friendly otherwise they can not be used effectively. I think it is very easy to oversimplify, so if a tool can master the fine line between simplifying and oversimplifying users will gravitate towards it.

  • Out of the eight core principles, I would say “Simplify” is the most important. If I were to give an explanation to data visualization, I would say that it is the ability to make complex data as simple and understandable as possible. Although, it does not mean that the data should be oversimplified just like Hoven mentioned in his article. However, the data should be presented in a form such that anyone who picks it up can make sense out of it without having to over analyze or study it. If data is not understandable, of what use would it be?

  • In my opinion, I believe the most important principle of the eight is “Explore”. The reason that I believe this is significantly important is due to the fact that data is data. If we don’t explore data and learn from the data, we are left with nothing. When we are given the option to explore the data, we are able to learn and discover things. For example, exploring a wide range of data allows a company to really discover something new that might affect the way they do business. Exploring is significant because it allows for further innovation which improves the company/business for their consumers. Exploration is an effective way to analyze data to be able to take in the raw information and learn something new from it.

  • In my opinion, the most important principle that Hoven described was to simplify. I know that I always ignore visualizations that try to include too many things. I want to know what is going on and what is being displayed to me in the first 5-10 seconds I look at something. You only have a short amount of time to make an impression and if I have to try to see what the important information in your data is then there is really not a chance that I will continue to look at it. The easier something is to decipher, the more effective the point one is trying to get across is.

  • The most important principle that Hoven discussed, in my opinion, was to “be skeptical”. I believe that jumping to conclusions or assuming something as truth is wrong, and there are several reasons for this. Without questioning data, incorrect conclusions and assumptions without second thought can and will have severe consequences. If you have seen the movie “The Big Short”, you can see just how the 2008 financial crisis took place and how very few people were following this principle. Further exploring situations within the data is a great way to expand upon knowledge or uncover new knowledge, and the first step to doing this being skeptical.

  • To me the most important principle Hoven describes is “Simplify.” I think one of the biggest challenges for me is looking at a visualization that just has way too much. I could be looking for something so simple but have to take minutes searching the visualization to find it. I even find myself sometimes using Tableau trying to color code everything or try and find another cool tool to use when in reality I’ve done enough. Doing any more would just complicate the visualization. The Simpler the Better.

  • In my opinion Few’s most important principle is to “Simplify.” Most people are usually uninterested in having to spend a long time to figure out the information they need so a data visualization that is harder to follow would more likely hinder the viewer away. For me personally I am usually in rush to find some type of information so a data visualization that gives me all the information I need very easily and painlessly is much better than a complex visualization.

  • Being skeptical is what stands out to me as the most important core principle in data visualization because of how tunnel visioned we can be whenever anything results oriented is related. Today in society, I feel like many of our personal world views are seen as black and white rather than the entire spectrum of color opportunities out there. This world is then carried over into the data principles and “skeptical” is something we put less importance on when really data visualization should be a continuous stream of questions. By being skeptical this allows for more opportunities for discovery or validation to your already existing data.

  • I believe that the most important principle was to “respond.” I believe so because how would the world know what data was found if no one ever reported what was found? Everyone would just keep their data and findings to themselves, and as a whole the world would be at a standstill.

  • I feel like being skeptical is the most important principle because it applies to both data and society. Similar to how many people are accustomed to accepting the first answer they get simply because exploring any further is tool hard, people seem uninterested in looking at the big picture of social/world issues simply because it’s too complex for them to care. However, unlike having Tableau to give us the luxury of data visualization and organization, society doesn’t really have a strong method of taking issues into a fair perspective. While I don’t think not having Tableau would cause riots or political chaos, the message of being skeptical sticks out the most as rarely doing it brings more consequences upon life in general.

  • I think the principle “ask why” is the most important one. The reason of “what is happening” is the real aim of making data visualization. We can’t just make a data visualization with only “facts”, that is meaningless. We need to learn something from data visualization and that is the principle “ask why”.

  • In my opinion, the most important principle is to “ask why.” We could have all the data in the world, and we could simply, compare, attend, and explore it, but if we never ask “why,” then we will never understand the point of the data. Without questioning why something is the way it is, meaning will never be drawn from the information at hand. Although all 8 steps are important to the process, “asking why” is the link between having data and understanding data, so it is the most crucial.

  • I think the most important principle is to “simplify”. Generally speaking, most people want information right away. Too much information can be distracting and confusing. By keeping things simple it will also be easier to convey your message in an efficient manner.

  • I think the most important principle is “simplify”. You don’t want to have a visualization that is too simple that it’s boring, but you also don’t want one that is too complicated. You should be able to look at the visualization and be able to tell what it is telling you, but it should also be attractive. If it’s too complicated, the viewer may just disregard your visualization completely and you don’t want that.

  • I think the most important principle is “be skeptical”. When utilizing or looking at any data it is important to understand all data presented might not be accurate or that some of the data presented may be skewed to look a certain way. By approaching the data with some skepticism you can discover and uncover more knowledge and view the data in a more useful and accurate way.

  • In my opinion, the most important out of the 8 core principles is to be skeptical. We need to constantly question the data that we observe because all data is not accurate. The article explains that we accept the first thing we see about data because traditional tools have made it hard to analyze. As a result, we often take data at face value. Through data analysis programs, we are able to question data with meaning and more than ever before.

  • I believe the most important principal is “be skeptical”. I believe this because people should be encouraged to question data and not just agree with someone’s opinion. Whenever analyzing data it is important to be thorough and be skeptical to create ones own opinion. This article addresses with great emphasis.

  • Being skeptical is the most important of the core principles. I am part of an economics research club that presents to local companies. One client was excited about a particular piece of data that showed Philadelphia is one of the best places for women’s representation in technology-related occupations. The club member who was in charge of that section of the presentation quit, and I took control of it. It turns out his data came from “” and he did not bother to be skeptical about it. When I went through the actual Census and BLS data, I discovered the information that he had presented to our client was off.

  • Although I believe that all eight of the core principles are significant, I find that asking why is the most important. When presented with a data visualization, it is imperative that one is able to, and has the desire further explore the data with the intention of figuring out why the data is the way it is. With the technology we have at our disposable, it is easier than ever to examine data sets and visualizations.

  • To me, the most important of Few’s 8 principles of data visualization is being skeptical because it checks the reliability of data analysis. It can prevent using the wrong solutions due to accepting results of data analysis at their face value. If we double-check the results or reorganize data to check for, say, more types of correlation, we can either confirm the initial results or disprove them offering an alternative. In either case, we can be more confident about conclusions made after double-checking.

  • The most important principle from Hoven’s article is the ability to ask why because this ability will help decision makers fix a problem or continue a positive trend. For example, it is not enough to know that the company’s profit is going down. It is more important to know why the trend is happening and what can the decision makers do to stop this negative trend. The ability to ask why will tremendously help company make better decisions and as a result create a better business.

  • According to the 8 Core Principles of Data Visualization I believe that “View Diversely” is the most important because it allows its’ viewers to discover new perspectives from the same data. Through different outlooks, the viewers are able to see more possibilities for their data and how to apply it in multiple ways. This ultimately creates more dimension and creativity for their work than following the same pattern if they were to always look at from one point of view.

  • I believe that the most important principle of data visualization is” Simply”..When you first look at data the first thing that you are going to judge how simple the data is being provided. Simple clear data makes it easier for people to follow and grab their attention better than data that is difficult to follow. But also the visualization. Good data visualization is tough to do that is why I believe it is the most important, you need to find a way to capture peoples emotions.

  • The most important principle of data visualization is “Ask Why?”. I feel this way because asking why makes you able to understand the reason of why things went wrong and allows you to come up with better decisions to better the business.

  • In my opinion the most important principal is to “be skeptical”. We experience so much data in our daily lives and often times we might just accept that data without a proper backing or source. It is up to the individual to look deeper into the information being presented in order to affirm its truthfulness and value. Skepticism can be healthy especially when it comes to data.

  • I believe “simplify” is the most important data visualization. The importance of having a visual organized into its most simplest form has much to do with understanding the data presented in front of someone. With overly complicated visuals, many people have confusion and maybe even lose interest. Simplifying a visual is like a universal language, one where everyone is able to understand. Simplified data visualizations will lead to the point faster, and more clear.

  • I believe the most important principle in Hoven’s Eight Core Principle’s of Data Visualization is to “be skeptical.” I believe this is the most important because like he said in the article, we usually take the first answer we see or get when we use data. We need to try to figure out if they’re different or more answers than the one we first find. This goes for things in general not just about data as well. If we can ask more questions, the more knowledgeable we will become when we find the answer.

  • The most important characteristic is definitely to simplify. I know at least personally, if a visualization looks to complex, cluttered, or strenuous to read, I won’t read it. Most people react the same way. Simple visualizations are the most effective visualizations for trying to present information to a large audience.

  • I believe Hoven’s principal of “Ask Why” is the most important one. It is impossible to learn new facts, information, or ways of doing things without asking questions and understanding how things fundamentally function. Asking why also helps individuals gain more in depth knowledge and will eventually enable them to predict and anticipate future occurrences. Additionally, asking why helps individuals learn different ways of thinking and analysis technique.

  • In my opinion i think that “Simplify” is the most important one. I believe that simplicity is more accurate in puzzle out an idea. Because the more you simplify your data the quicker the observer will get it. But don’t over simplify it because it won’t look good.

  • I believe that the most important principle of Few’s 8 Principles of Data Visualization is “Be skeptical”. Simply accepting the first answer we see can make us miss so much more than the data can tell us. We need to be skeptical in order to see the data from different points of view and angles to see if their are other relationships; it will allow us to confirm our answers and even answer other questions that we didn’t know we had. Being skeptical makes us check that the data is reliable and confirm that the analysis is correct.

  • One of the principal that Hoven discussed in the article is “Simplify”. And I believe this is the most significant principal. Making the data understandable is the most basic and essential process for audience. Whether the visualization is simple enough or not will highly affect the audience I believe. Because when people look at the data, complicated visualization mihght probably lead audience stop and not continue to look at it.

  • I think the most important principle is “simplify”. When people are looking at data visual, the first thing would be if this is easy to understand, and no useless data. This will help people to understand the data better and also give a great first view.

  • I think the most important principle is to simplify because it should be easy to read the data just by looking at it. If the data is easy to see or read it just makes analyzing and interpreting it easier as well. If it is difficult than it’s going to take more time to read and interpret it. It’s important to know which visualization is most appropriate for the data and then applying it and according to the article, that is what tableau does.

  • I believe the most important principle is “simplify”. A good data visualization to me is something that is easy to read and and understand and at the same time is also easy on the eyes. Me personally, I hate data visualizations that have too much words, colors, pictures, etc on them. I love the one that are very simple and easy for me to read within five seconds.

  • I think the most important core principle is “Be skeptical”. This relates back to how much data we have access to and how much data is bad data. In order to create information, we must be skeptical of our visualizations because visualizations are meant to communicate information.

  • The most important principal in my opinion is to “Simplify”. Info graphics take a ton of data and make a unique visual image to present it. As an artist, i know you must simplify. You must take the data you found, which is a lot, but you must present it simply so every audience member can understand it. You cannot have your audience do a lot of work to find the data. A great vizualization already has it presented for them.

  • Out of the eight core principals of data visualization, I believe that being skeptical is the most important. The first answer that we may get is not always the one that seeks to answer our questions. It’s always good to ask more questions to be closer to certainty and to have a better understanding to what we want to know.

  • The most important rule presented in the article is to “Simplify”. This is probably the most important because it reinforces the purpose of creating visualizations for data. The purpose is to make the data more easily understood with graphs and charts, and not to create overly complicated representations that are hard to follow/understand. The simplest of visualizations are sometimes the best ones because they know what their point is and how to get it across to its audience.

  • Even though these eight principles are all great in my opinion I believe explore is the most important one. Exploring things always leads to bigger and better things. It helps you learn more about whatever your looking for and whatever your trying to find out about. Like the article said you don’t explore just to find answers, but to discover things.

  • I believe the most important rule stated in the article is simplicity. The point of making a data visual is to help others understand the data being presented. If the data cant be translated to a simple visual, then the purpose is not fulfilled. If it is simple, your audience understands the data, then the data visualization was successful.

  • The most important principle in my opinion is “Simplify”. When a data visualizations over load with information they do the opposite of their purpose. It can scar people way form the information or make them more confused. If the visualization is simple it emphasize the point of the data and attract people to read more information.

  • I think the most important principle is Simplify. I think this is the most important principle because data needs to be understood in many different ways. When you are able to put information into content in a way that people can transform the data into a larger component, which makes the data easy to understand. When I’m looking at data i will like to break down the data in ways that make it easy for me to create analysis, i can’t do that if the data has too many moving parts such as too many number or words.

  • I think the most important principle is simplify. If the data is not easy to read or understand then it is not very efficient. Simplicity is the very first principle and it is also a building block that can ruin a whole data set if it is missing. The easier something is to understand, the easier we can make conclusions and take it to the next level of understanding.

  • I believe the most important of the eight principles is “Be skeptical.” Hoven mentions that we rely too heavily on traditional tools to analyze our data because doing so ourselves would be too much of a task. This is definitely the wrong approach to take when sifting through data because analytical tools can too make mistakes. It is much better to take the time to double check the result of the data analysis yourself and make sure you aren’t dealing with faulty data.

  • I believe “compare” is the most important principle. The comparison of data visualizations is where all the insightful information will come from. Comparing different visualizations can show relationships that you may find surprising.

  • The most important principle I found, out of the 8, was the principle of simplifying and keeping data simple. Data can be very helpful and very detrimentally depending on how it is understood and perceived. Often times data is overcomplicated and doesn’t accomplish the goal of providing information. When data is presented simply with appropriate visuals etc, it is very straightforward.

  • I think the “Ask why” principle is the most important aspect because it provides you with insight into why data is actionable. If you find a correlation in data, there’s a possibility that it’s just a coincidence or lying to you. You have to understand why something happens before you really see if it’s useful.

  • I think “Compare” principle is the most important principle. This is because as he states,” you need to be able to compare your data visualizations side by side”. In other words you need to be able to understand and tell the differences between what you’re looking at, at a glance. Also being ble to compare visualizations might answer unanswered questions you had about a certain set of data. Lastly, you cant remember all the data that you have seen, so the fact that it is side by side will help you to compare the data.

  • I think “Simplify” is the most important of the 8 principles. When looking at data, there can be a lot in front of you all at once. Looking at this data can be confusing and discouraging. Simplifying data makes looking at it and understanding it so much easier and pleasing.

  • I think “simplify” is the most important principle out of the 8th. Really there is so much that goes into data sometimes, once you follow through the first step and simplify it all it will become a lot easier. Especially for a beginner such as myself.

  • I think the most important principal out of the 8 is “simplify.” I think that doing this steps makes everything else easier. Data can be vey helpful in many different types of ways, and I think keeping thinks simplified just makes it easier for everyone. There is so much data out there, and it can all be confusing. Keeping everything simple will help out more or less complications that can occur.

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Office Hours
Laurel Miller (instructor) 11:00am-12:00pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Speakman Hall 210 or by appointment.
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