Section 003, Instructor: Shana Pote

Weekly Question #4: Complete by February 10, 2016

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on February 10, 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 last week (“Stephen Few on Data Visualization: 8 Core Principles”). Which one of the eight principles do you think is most important? Why?

57 Responses to Weekly Question #4: Complete by February 10, 2016

  • Profile photo of Matthew Major

    In my opinion, the most important is being skeptical. Many times (even myself in previous years) people take a very quick lookover of a visualized data set and draw a quick conclusion, sometimes without even considering the scales of the chart! I was recently reading a book on statistics, and the biggest thing that was stressed in the first few chapters was that you cannot trust what you are seeing without digging deeper and making sure yourself. Being skeptical is more than appropriate in these situations, because biased data is out there everywhere. You always have to assume that the person providing the data is trying to skew it towards backing up his/her point of view. The goal is to prove yourself wrong, and identify the data set as a credible, and properly presented model that avoids bias, and presents clear and equal data.

  • Profile photo of Akshat A Shah

    In my opinion, the most important is view diversity. By looking at the same data in different ways, different conclusions can be made. Also, people might see things that they did not see in the other version of the data. I could also help people understand things that they did not understand before. For example, in my microeconomics class, the professor drew a chart on the board, but I could not understand. He drew the same data in a different format I was able understand what he was trying to say. Diversity can help people understand and gain multiple insights to the data. That is why diversity is important.

  • In my opinion, the most important principle of data visualization is to simplify. Often, visualizations can become overcrowded with unnecessary information making the data hard to read. This can lead to misinterpretation of the data, making the entire visualization useless. Simplifying a visualization makes it more clear to interpret and easier to read, therefore, creating a better visualization overall.

  • Profile photo of Kashif Hasan Malik

    In my opinion, the most important is compare. When you look at a piece of data you may extract the data you are looking for, however, if you were to compare that data set to another data set it can lead you to even more conclusions that were not noticeable. Comparing helps to develop conclusions and can come beneficial especially when looking at data of maps and comparing different states or county. It gives you the bigger picture and becomes more obvious of what the trends are.

  • Profile photo of Nancy Nam

    Out of the eight principles, I think attend is most crucial. While our brains mechanics makes it super easy for us to hone in on key aspects, it also makes ignoring irrelevant parts very easy. For this reason, a good data visualization is its ability to make whats most important highlighted and draw back the rest. If there is too much data, our brains will be inundated with data. This in effect will make what’s really the point of the visual loose its relevancy in our brains. Good visuals need to draw our attention to the right spot so that we can withdraw the most important information from them.

  • Profile photo of Jose X Villanueva

    I think the most important of the eight principles has to be Ask Why. This is the only way to get to the bottom of something that you can use the information for a good reason. If we don’t ask about the data then what’s the point of making the data visualization. Asking why allows the researchers to find and keep finding out more information

  • Profile photo of Katherine Braccio

    In my opinion, the most important core principles are the ability for a graphic to be viewed diversely as well as its simplicity. This principle lends itself to multiple interpretations by the same viewer, deepening an understanding in what the graphic is really trying to communicate. It’s as if different people are looking at the graph in different ways, and each perspective can open another’s eyes to a new view of the same information. In class, we spoke to a graphic that was interactive and provided different visualizations depending on the demographic group studied, or each group combined. At the same time, it was rather simple and the data did not need to be translated to the audience – anyone who found the graphic would be able to understand the information it conveys. In all, the simplicity of a graph as well as view diversity contributes to a deeper understanding of the data, and facilitates communication between the analyst and the audience.

  • The most important principle of data is its possibility to be viewed simplistically. Data has millions of different way to be viewed but it is important to from it to help support your argument. Data will most easily be interpreted if it is simple. Too much information will drown out the point of the data leading to people misinterpreting the point trying to be made. The more simplistically data can be displayed the more it will be able to be impactful on its viewer.

  • Profile photo of Colin Kelly

    Of the eight different core principles, I think that the most important one is the idea of “Simplify.” It’s incredibly important to make sure that any data you attempt to show is easy to understand so that the main purpose of your data is able to be noticed right away. If the data is too complex or isn’t organized in a simple-to-understand way, people may not be able to interpret the information properly and then might not understand the purpose of what the data is trying to convey. By making sure the data is simple and easy to follow, the message is able to be received easiest and the viewer is able to have a clear focus.

  • Profile photo of Alice Nguyen

    In my opinion, the most important principle is having an appropriate response. While the internet has made it very easy to spread information gleaned from data globally, because there is too much to take in, a piece of information can just as easily be lost among terabytes of raw data. As for using search engines, unless the searcher knows what questions to ask, they might as well be looking for a needle in a haystack. Also, sharing data is important because there is a need to make data comprehensible for not only yourself but also for others. Unless people who look at our data can understand and utilize it, there will be little meaning to the entire process.

  • Profile photo of Ashley Charlton

    In my opinion the most important of the eight principles is view diversely. It is important to look at data in different ways. Viewing data differently can help you discover something you did not see before. It can also help create different conclusions and connections from the previous ones because you are able to compare the different views of the same data. Without viewing data diversely, you could completely miss something that could actually be very important to the data.

  • Profile photo of Emily A Jacobson

    In my opinion, the most important core principle of data visualization simplification. All of the principles build upon each other and without the data visualization first being simplified the other principles become harder to apply. If the data visualization is not simplified than it would be much harder to compare since the visualization may be difficult to understand and people may not even know where to begin to attend to the data. This would make it difficult to explore and if it is not understood than it can not be viewed diversely. No questions are asked and by not understanding we have nothing to be skeptical of and therefore are unable to respond. Perhaps someone who understands the data inside and out may be able to proceed in understanding the visualizations but to the common person simplification is what allows the other core principles to be applied.

  • Profile photo of Prince Patel

    I think that one of the most important principle while working with data and data visualization is Exploring. Exploring is one of the basic requirements to successfully analyze data and find interesting patterns within the data. In fact, without exploring data it is merely impossible to find relations between variables and factors affecting the data and data observation. Curiosity encourages us to explore data and successfully crack data for usage. If exploration is restricted the desire of finding interesting and important information is restricted, this can perhaps lead to ignorance and unproductive usage of data. Hence, giving the option to explore data in tableau would allow analysts to discover equally important and valid hypotheses taking a unique data visualizing approach.

  • In my opinion, the most important principle is respond. This is important because whenever you analyze a data set you need to respond to it, have a call to action. The ability to share that data with others makes the world a better place. It gets more people informed about the dangers or the potential rewards of a certain action. This is why in my opinion the most important principle is respond.

  • Profile photo of William G Roman

    I believe that the most important principle from the Hoven article is to ask why. Many people may be content with just visualizing the data in front of them. However, it is crucial that people understand what the data means. The only way to do that is to ask why the data is how it is. Once we understand why the data is how it is, we can begin to make decisions based on our understanding of the data.

  • The most important characteristic is simplicity. The whole reason you are visualizing data is to relay something to an audience which may or may not understand the material, so you want to make it as simple and understandable as possible. Throwing in too many piece of useless data will confuse your audience and make your point unclear. Your audience just wants you to get to the point, and not surround it with flowery excess.

  • Profile photo of Alexandria M Freeman

    In my opinion, the most important principal is to be skeptical. We learned from our discussion on bias and the signal problem that not all data can be trusted completely. Data can become catered to the individual searching for it just from search history. It is important to look further into the sources the data originally came from. Just skimming over biased data will lead to incorrect conclusions. We must be able to back up the data with facts and other sources in order to stray away from the bias that seems almost impossible to avoid.

  • Profile photo of David J D'Angelo

    I think the most important principle in data visualization is simplify. Messy and unorganized data visualizations can be difficult to interpret and understand. When making data visualizations, it is important that it can be understood by a wide variety of people in order for the data to be meaningful and effective.

  • Profile photo of Isaiah J Carroll

    The most important element of a data graphic is its simplicity. Many Americans are lazy and if at initial glance they can’t make out what the data is showing then they will give up on it. Data is meant to inform and persuade people’s decisions and if we can’t read the data then that graphic fails. Also, by making the graphical simple to understand it allows more people to understand the data and interpret it thus allowing for a fuller sample test as opposed to a bias response.

  • I think that being skeptical is the most important principle, simply because many graphs and data sets are put together in a way that is supposed to make a point or enhance someones argument. For example, the other day in one of my other classes, a graph was presented to show that spending on education (in dollars) had little to no correlation with student test scores (in points). These two variables were shown on the same graph, and seemed to show that while dollars spent were increasing, the scores remained relatively stagnant, with only a slight upwards slant. If I had not been skeptical, I would have been apt to draw a conclusion based off of the data, but I instead questioned the scale and our class agreed that the data was inconclusive.

  • Profile photo of Gabriella C Baldini

    In my opinion, the most important of Stephen Few’s eight principles is simplicity. When it comes to intricate, big data, less is more. The whole point of data visualization is to create a way for others to understand the meaning behind all that data. When there is an overload of info, people often don’t want to bother trying to decipher what it all means. The point of the visualization is to decipher the data visually for the readers. I know when I go to a website, I definitely won’t look too far if the site is over cluttered. It makes it very difficult to even know what to look for. Simple and clear is far more useful than cluttered and unfocused.

  • Profile photo of Alexander Somers Greene

    The most important principal of “Stephen Few on Data Visualization: 8 Core Principles” is the final point respond. What is the use of data when we do not apply it? The ability to share our new results with others spreading our knowledge of this new information and then using it to help make decisions and be the inspiration of further research and new hypotheses is the ideal of how our data we be witnessed and applied once we publish it. A few sets of data won’t change the world, What people do with that data is how we shape the world around us.

  • Profile photo of Elena K Cipparone

    I think the “ask why” principle is most important. Without understanding why something is happening, there is really no use of knowing what is happening. Knowing why something is happening makes the data more useful in decision making, otherwise the data visualization is simply a “statement.” For example, if data visualization shows that umbrellas are high in demand; it might be useful to know why, such as if there is a storm coming. Otherwise, if you went ahead and produced and sold umbrellas you would be surprised if they didn’t sell on a clear/sunny day.

  • The most important principle from the article is to be skeptical. When analyzing data, knowing that the data can be skewed or incorrect can help you to use the data to the best of your capabilities. Weeding out irrelevant or incorrect data from a graphic allows you to get better information from the data. Also, looking past a graphic to the source of the data can help sort through good and bad data.

  • Profile photo of Rahsaam K Ray

    The most important principle from Hoven’s article is to be skeptical when analyzing the data. Humans are surrounded by data and it is extremely important that we know how to filter between data that is valid and invalid. Viewing data with an skeptical eye can only lead to more valid data sets and data visualizations.

  • Profile photo of John W Forsythe

    I believe that the most important principle of Few’s eight principles is simplicity. A data visualization that is very simple and easy to read is the most successful when it comes to getting a point or message across. Often, complex data visualizations are very hard to read and can easily be misinterpreted. These graphics are usually very messy and confuse the audience because too much data is involved in the visualization or the information is not presented in a clear, straightforward manner. Therefore, simple data visualizations produce the best results because the message of the data is easily and quickly interpreted by individuals.

  • Profile photo of Mark Anthony Negro

    The most important core principle from Stephen Few is to simplify. Good data captures the essence of data without oversimplifying. The other 8 principles play major roles but if the data is very complicated and complex then, it will be immediately seen as bad data. Data must be easily translated and viewable, all else follows.

  • Out of the Stephen Few’s eight principles of data visualization, I think the most important principle is to compare. This is because often it is hard to imagine data and it’s magnitude. But when you are able to both provide visuals of the data and on top of that compare it to other data, it is easier to understand the significance of the data you are displaying.

  • Profile photo of Kiranya Chappell Chumtong

    Out of the Stephen Few’s eight principles of data visualization, I think the most important principle is to compare. This is because often it is hard to imagine data and it’s magnitude. But when you are able to both provide visuals of the data and on top of that compare it to other data, it is easier to understand the significance of the data you are displaying.

  • Profile photo of Brandon K Shaffer

    From the eight principles, I believe asking why is the most important. One can spend all of their time looking at a data visualization that looks pretty or is so simple, but if they don’t understand the message that the data is trying to get across then the data and the visualizations are useless. We use data to better understand a concept and to make smarter decisions in the future, none of which could happen if you don’t ask why the data is forming the way it is.

  • Profile photo of Jordan Timothy Motter

    The most important step, to me, is to be skeptical. The worst thing one can do is trust anything that they read without questioning its validity first. We have so much data presented to us nowadays, that it is easy to simply accept it as true without first questioning where it came from and why it should be trusted. Data visualization can be very helpful, but not if it is false!

  • Profile photo of Rehan M. Chowdhury

    In my opinion, the most important principle out of 8, is compare. It is very hard to store in our memory or memorise all the data that we are looking for. Data visualization gives us the opportunity to see the data side by side , compare them at the very best and come out of the best decision to the matter we are looking for.

  • Profile photo of Kennedy Frances Price

    I believe the most important principle of data visualizations is asking why. When viewing a data visualization, one must analyze what they are looking at to find patterns and relationships. More importantly, in order to make these patterns and relationships meaningful there must be reasoning behind them. Exploring the reasoning of relationships will allow the data to be useful so that it can be used to make decisions and conclusions. Asking why the patterns are there will lead to the answers that are desired.

  • Profile photo of Craig Jacob Kestecher

    I think the “simplify” rule is the most important. When visualizing data, the creator needs to make it simple enough for people to take quick glance and understand the information. I believe finding the middle ground, in regards to presented information, is what separates good and bad graphics. Too much information can create a difficulty when interpreting the data; however, not enough information can prohibit any interpretation.

  • Profile photo of Sakeena A McLain-Cook

    I think the most important principle is respond. If nobody ever did anything with the data collected then the data would ultimately mean nothing. It is important to respond and get involved with the data around to better the world around us. The ability to share information makes it possible for a lot of enhancements throughout our society.

  • Profile photo of Ryan C Gibbons

    I think the most important principle in the article is “Ask why.” I think this is the most important because being able to determine why a certain trend is occurring throughout a data set is crucial in deciding how to act on that data. Without knowing the reason behind a trend, one cannot come up with a way to improve whatever they’re trying to improve. Asking why things are the way they are is the first step in making a business better.

  • Profile photo of Tae Shin

    The most important principle is the “simplify” principle. One thing I learned throughout business school is to make what I want to convey concise. The reason for this is because people want to get to the point. By having too much information, people will skim through important parts. Therefore, a data visualization should be simplified to the point where people will feel comfortable, not intimidated, by the visualization.

  • Of the eight principles mentioned in the Hoven article, the one that I feel to be most important when it comes to data visualizations would be “Be Skeptical”. This particular principle spoke to me in that a lot of times when we see a data visualization, if it looks professional and well put together, we are quick to deem the information as well as the visual itself as completely factual and credible even though that may not be the case. Then, we later find out that there were flaws in the information and even the visual that could have affected your own studies, research, or conclusions that you may have drawn while depending on that visualization or information. As human beings we naturally get lazy, so as soon as we see some information or a visualization that seems accurate, we jump at its availability to provide us with information and then take that information for face value. If you really want to obtain some credible information than it would be best based on the article as well as personal experience to explore you options or double check the credibility of your source. It wouldn’t hurt. Backtracking after you’ve gotten a significant amount of work done will.

  • Profile photo of Shuyue Ding

    In my opinion, the most important is simplify. The reason is simple. If a visualization is too complex, I already hate it before I try to understand it. I always try to avoid any complex visualization as much as I can. During the presentation, our audiences are likely not professional for graphs. If they already hate the visualization before your presentation. I believe that presentation is hard to success.

  • I agree with Matthew Major, and a couple of the other students who mentioned that being skeptical is one of the more important concepts to take away from the Hoven articles. It’s very easy for us as visual learners to believe everything that we see, and often data visualizations are credible and well put together, however we seem to blindly believe them as fact. We need to question our surroundings and any type of information that is passed along to us, by doing so we become more analytical thinkers and always have a layer of skepticism for when we think something looks out of place.

  • Profile photo of Brittney Michelle Pescatore

    Out of all 8 core principles, I think “Be skeptical” is the most important. I agree that we never really question our own work. Generally we will take the first idea or answer and run with it. However, usually the best information or results come from taking your original idea or outcome a few steps further. We can also be too trusting at times. It is important to question others work along with our own work .

  • Profile photo of Jake Montana

    Out of the 8 core principles, I believe being skeptical of the data is the most important. I also believe that the first answer we come across when trying to answer questions is often the answer accepted. Questioning the data could result to better ideas or results which should be used more. Being skeptical could even lead to better decision making. Lastly, we should even be skeptical of our own data along with questioning others data.

  • In my point of view, I think View Diversely is the most important one out of total 8 ore principles. As we know, there are a lot of distinctive types of data in this world. Most of them are complex and unorganized. When people try to get the data from somewhere, viewing diversity of a data may help people better understand so that people can clarify what they want as soon as possible.

  • Profile photo of Joshua J Affainie

    I think “Be Skeptical” is the most important. I agree that we do not really question our own work. But we will take the first idea and the answer and go with it. However the best information comes for taking your original idea or outcome a few steps further your ideas. It is important to question other people work or our own work.

  • Profile photo of Xiaoxu Liu

    In my opinion, the most important principle of data visualization is to simplify. Now we lives in a world of data and we are exposed to thousands of data every day, so in order to use them , simplifying these complicated and numerous data is necessary. Also, I think simplicity is the most important because simplifying data is the first thing we should do when we deal with data — without simplifying data first, it would be harder for us to accomplish other seven other core principles (“compare, attend, explore, view diversely, ask why be skeptical and respond”).

  • I personally think that the most important core idea is simplify. I think that when things are simplified correctly, you get your point across in the most direct manner. I feel like if things are simplified than there is not really a chance in reading the data and misunderstanding it. It is presented in a way that the everyday person can understand that the data will be the most useful. The more people that can understand the data, the better. Simplicity decreases the chances of incorporating useless data.

  • One of the eight principles that I think is most important is to compare. Comparing data visualizations side by side can help with differentiating between the data and how it is sorted. Finding out how to organize and categorize data by illustrating multiple data visualizations is an effective way to look for limitations and how the data can be structured more efficiently. Comparing helps with how to lay out the data so that it can be easily formatted.

  • Profile photo of Jason Ly

    The most important one in my opinion is simplicity. The less the better, as long as it’s able to tell the story right. When there is too much data, it may cause confusion to the reader, and may misinterpret the data.

  • After reading over Stephen Few’s 8 Core Principles, I found “View Diversely” to be the most important tool. When we are introduced to something, in this case data pertaining to all sorts of things, our initial thoughts are not always the same as the next guy’s. I have noticed this especially in our class. I am not the go-to person when it comes to analyzing data, so enjoy listening to what everyone in class has to say about the topics we discuss. I am always interested to see what everyone’s thoughts are in comparison to my own. I’ve come to find that I learn so much through listening to what my class mates think.

  • Profile photo of Junaid K Farnum

    Out of the eight principles, the one that I believe is the most important is the “Ask Why” principle. To me, this principle is the most important simply because when viewing data it is crucial to know not only the data that is being presented to us but why the data appears the way it does as in results. I believe knowing why data is presented and shown the way it is brings a better understanding of how one interprets and views the several relationships that may be associated with data visualization. Asking why is also important because if one is to only view and observe data visualizations without any background or reasoning behind it, they would not be able to see trends when looking at data sets for future observations.

  • In my opinion, the most important characteristic is simplicity. Overloading data with too much information makes it harder to compare the data visualizations side by side. It will discourage the viewers. Simplicity is preferred rather than complex ones to prevent confusing the viewers with unnecessary information.

  • Profile photo of Kenneth Kirk Killian

    I believe that simplicity is the most important principle out of Hoven’s eight. A picture can paint a thousand words, but if the data is not shown in a simple format, it is close to useless. Having simple data lets analysts speak to larger groups of people in a shorter time frame, and the more your data talks the less you have to. Simple data is not just easy on the eyes, it is also through the way the data is presented. Having the correct intervals can make or break the understanding of an infographic. Along with that, sometimes it is better to put all of the data on one relevant graph and sometimes there is the need for multiple graphs to avoid confusion. Simplicity is key, because simplicity shows the most understanding of the information. The more simple you can make it for everyone else, the more it shows you actually know what you’re talking about.

  • Profile photo of Michael Lawrence Carey

    I think the most important principle out of the 8 is “Be skeptical”. As the article mentions, we never question our answers, we automatically assume they are in line and correct. It is important to be skeptical because If you have a suspicion that the data is incorrect, you can go back and check your work and ensure that your task was done correctly. Even in common ways outside of the classroom, such as re-reading an essay and checking for errors, you can realize what is out of line and make changes to ensure that it was done to the best of your ability.

  • Simplicity is the most important when considering visual representations of data. By simplicity I mean the ability of a graph to immediately convey meaningful data. Simplicity implies an ability to inherently understand maximum information with minimal representation. There is a power in such an ability especially in terms of data representation.

  • Profile photo of Erica Corinne Rudy

    In my opinion, simplify is the most important. In most cases, not even just with data and data visualizations, simplifying makes working much easier – it requires all information to be laid out, and then advancing to next steps comes more easily. While it may require more work initially, knowing the information in front of you allows for a better understanding. Within data visualizations specifically, simplifying allows any viewer to understand the information being portrayed.

  • Profile photo of Sergio Campos

    The most important principle from Hoven’s article “Stephen Few on Data Visualization: 8 Core Principles” is to be skeptical. More often than not, data visualizations can be skewed to benefit a person or topic of interest. It is very important to gather your own information, or check for errors before deeming the information credible and or resourceful.

  • In my opinion, the most important is view diversity. Through analyzing the same data in different ways, different conclusions can be made. Also, people obtain new information by making comparisons among different data. I could also help people understand things that they did not understand before. For example, when I couldn’t understand the content that my statistic professor drew a chart on the board. He would drew the same data in a different format so that I was able understand what he was trying to say. Diversity can help people understand and gain multiple insights to the data. That is why diversity is important.

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Office Hours

Shana Pote (instructor)
By appointment only - 9:10am-9:45am, M/W/F, Speakman Hall 207H. Email to set up appointment.
Josh Veloso (Information Technology Assistant)
By appointment only - M-F from 11am to 12 pm, or MWF at 3pm. Email to set up appointment.

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