Section 004, Instructor: Laurel Miller

Weekly Question #4: Complete by February 11, 2016

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on February 11, 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?

58 Responses to Weekly Question #4: Complete by February 11, 2016

  • Using data visualization helps people process data, but, in order to deliver the data most effectively, one needs to keep in mind how viewers will and should respond to it. Respond is one of Hoven’s principles to utilizing data visualization, and it, in my mind, incorporates all of his other principles. A data visualization can only be effective if all other seven principles are there to help the viewer respond. Therefore, the viewer’s ability to respond is most important, because you, the creator of the data visualization, have to apply all other seven principles so that the viewer will be able to respond effectively.

  • Profile photo of Melanie McComb

    Data visualization tools are meant to aid us in processing information more easily, quickly, and efficiently. However, if a graph or table is too complex or shows irrelevant information, it serves no purpose to the user. Therefore, I think that simplify is the most important principle. In today’s world, the attention span is very short and we process things rather quickly. The data visualizations need to follow suit in order to be useful and compatible with our thought processes.

  • Profile photo of Chloe Alison McCormack

    I think the most important principle when it comes to utilizing data visualizations is Explore. Data visualizations are a visual aid and another type of way to view data. Creating these visualizations allows us to explore data in a different way and discover new ideas like correlations in the data. Before we can apply any of the other principles we must first take a look at the data visualization and explore, then we can ask questions, make conclusions, compare, respond, ect. Exploring is the principle that is the foundation to all of the others, that is why I think it is most important.

  • Profile photo of Donald M Tedesco

    Of the eight principles listed in Hoven’s article, I believe simplify is the most important. When visualizing data, one can become easily confused if the data they are viewing is overpowering and too much. Simple data visualizations let the viewer better understand the data because it is focused on pertinent material.

  • I find the principle “ask why” to be the most important of the 8 Core Principles on Data Visualization. Throughout the whole semester, we have been learning that data is only significant if you can understand it and analyze it. We did an entire activity where we looked at good examples of data represented in a visual manner. We wouldn’t understand what any of this means if we didn’t ask why. Nothing about data would be of any significance unless we asked why.

  • Of all 8 core principles from Hoven’s article, I suppose “Simplify” would be the most important element. First of all, human beings possessed by visuals, complicated and enormous data would ruin readers’ interests and loses their patience. Secondly, simplifying complexity to things could be easily understood would be a proof that the author indeed put in his blood and efforts in it, also an evidence that if the author really chew informations down to bones entirely. However, process of simplifying requires a lot of energy and time. Therefore, I would believe “Simplify” as the most important things of 9 core principles.

  • Profile photo of Korah Sabu

    Out of the eight core principles, the “be skeptical” principle is the most important one in my opinion. This is because people honestly never question their data. If we remember what our guest speaker said, he checked his data and found something wrong. This helped his company and re-checking data can help so many other companies. We must always be skeptical.

  • Profile photo of Enshen Guan

    I would prefer “be skeptical” among those eight core principles of data visualization. Most people would stop questioning the data when they got the first simply answer from it. However, we should keep exploring the data to get more information from it. Now that we have the useful tools to analyze the data, it makes the analysis become simple and gives us more opportunities to questioning the data based on the analysis.

  • Profile photo of Stanley T John

    Out of the eight core principles, the most important one in my opinion is the “simplify” principle. Data can be useful for viewers if they have a better understanding of it. If data is complex and hard for one to grasp then the data is useless and doesn’t really serve its purpose. Simplicity is key in order for data to be easily understood.

  • Profile photo of Rachel Rempel

    In my opinion, I think that the most important principle is to “be skeptical”. Especially in today’s information age, social media is particularly flooded with blatantly wrong, biased, or misleading data. In fact, most data has biases, because we cannot eliminate the aspect of human error. As a result, because of data analysis being pretty technical and difficult for the average individual, most people do not do any further research or analysis on the actual data itself. Instead, most blindly accept the majority of what they see/hear/read to be true, when often times it is not. Without being skeptical, we make ourselves susceptible to misinformation, which is counter-intuitive in today’s day and age.

  • Profile photo of Arlo Antle

    In my personal opinion, data and its interpretations are too often taken at face value. Seeing as this is true, to truly comprehend and understand what one is looking at, one must be able to see multiple perspectives and scenarios concerning any situation. It is in my belief that the exploring aspect of data is most important. Not only does it allow for more than what the graphic gives you outright, but it encourages free thought and helps for interpreters of the data to try and formulate their own opinions, rather than take others’.

  • Out of the eight core principles, the one I believe to be the most important is ‘Ask Why’. Going back to the first day of class, we discussed that simply having data, or even what would truly qualify as big data, is not very important or useful unless we can harness that data and turn it into information, and more importantly, knowledge. We can then use this knowledge to our organizations’ benefit to provide actionable results. To me that is the key takeaway or point of this whole exercise as students of various business disciplines- can we leverage this massive amount of data we have collected to enable us to make smarter, more informed business decisions?

  • Profile photo of Kelsey J Penney

    Out of the 8 principles in the article I believe the most important is be skeptical. Data can often look as if it is following a trend when you really dont know why the results are that way. in being skeptical you are able to take the data for its value and realize that it is was probably collected with some bias either in collection, samples or questions they asked to obtain the data. It is most important to realize where the data you are looking at is from and realize the value that it has and that you should not rely solely on that data but do other research as well.

  • Profile photo of Rebecca Jackson

    I believe that ‘Explore’ is the most important principle. Exploration allows us to work without a question, which is one of the biggest benefits of big data. Without exploration we are prone to finding our own hypotheses reflected in the work.

  • Profile photo of Shane T Burke

    Out of Stephen Few’s 8 Core Principles, I believe that ‘Simplify’ is the most important to data visualization. Data visualization is supposed to be easy to look at and easy to create. Overcomplicating the visualization can make interpreting and changing the data inefficient and confusing. Without a simplified representation of data, all of the other core principles will be more difficult.

  • Profile photo of Kevin F Bradley

    After reading over the Hoven article, I believe that the most important principle of the eight is to explore. There are so many data sets that can be found by searching the internet, and if you don’t put enough effort into searching for those data sets, you will never find them. If you explore a specific topic deeply enough, you will be able to find so much valuable information. If you continue to explore more data bases and search in other places, you will be able to come across some incredibly valuable data. Simply by exploring, you can discover hundreds of data sets that can help you out in so many ways and that is why I believe it is the most important principle stated by Hoven.

  • Profile photo of Kevin Vong

    All eight data visualization principals are important in one way or another. However, the most important in my opinion is the principal of asking why. Data is only useful and applicable if we understand it. Asking the question of “why is this happening?” allows data to be understood. We can then use this knowledge to turn data into actionable results as stated in the article.

  • Profile photo of James J Dantonio

    The most important of the eight data visualization principals is to be skeptical. It is crucial to verify that the data you are recieving is correct. Often in IT the data is coming from a system that a developer or DBA is retrieving for you. If the data is incorrect than what you are presenting is useless and potentially harmful.

  • I think the most important principle discussed in the article is the fact that we need to, “Ask why.” In order to get answers and results, we need to find out why we have the data that we have. We need to find out what is occurring that is giving us the data we have. If we do not ask the why behind the data we have, we will fail to learn to learn from that data.

  • Profile photo of Anthony G Brusco

    I feel that the most important of the 8 Core Principles of Data Visualization is Explore. In order to truly understand the data we must delve into the data of what we are studying and not just looking at the simplicity of it. With the option to explore we might just in fact find other data that we did not know existed and we can more information about the topic of study.

  • Profile photo of Lauren Soentgen

    I think the most important principle is the first principle which is to simplify the data visualization. I think this is extremely important because I have encountered data visualizations that are extremely busy and have a lot going on. The lack of simplicity take away from the message that the visualization is trying to say and may even confuse people about what is actually going on in the visual. I think it is also important that he added that we should not oversimplify because this can also add problems with clarity and the message that is trying to be said.

  • Profile photo of Caroline M Buckley

    I think that the most important principle is to ask “why”? Gathering information and questioning results is essential and in order to further our learning and our knowledge about data we need to dig further. In order to understand where data comes from and why it comes from that particular place, we need to look deeper and ask more questions to get the best results possible.

  • Profile photo of Ngoc (Nathan) Pham

    Among 8 core principles of good data visualization that Hoven discusses, I believe that “ask why” is the most important. Because all the other 7 are about seeing, judging or thinking about the data visualization itself. But “ask why” is really to think deeply, to truly understand the underlying message of the data visualization and to create action. After all, observation and contemplation upon the data set is important. But without really digging deep into it and take out information for action, we cannot use the data and it becomes useless. Hence, a good data visualization has to help viewers to see, to think and to make decision based on it.

  • Profile photo of Ngoc-Tran Tran

    In my opinion, “Ask why” is the most important principle. As we have learnt in class, data should be actionable, or in other words, data should guide actions. If we do not know the underlying reason behind the cause of an event, we cannot act to prevent it and data will no longer be important. Besides, if we do not thoroughly understand the reason behind the data, we are less likely to make decisions based on data and may choose to follow our intuition instead. Using data to ask why is also a great way to generate knowledge and to understand it thoroughly.

  • Profile photo of Bridget Beauty Warlea

    To me, the best principle is to respond. It is great to spend a lot of time researching for answers and data. But all of that hard work means nothing if it is not followed by a response or an action. Numbers and images can be very powerful if we use it the right way and take its implications seriously.

  • Profile photo of Nhan Nguyen

    I believe ‘Simplify’ is the most important of the 8 core principles in Hoven’s article. In the article, data visualization is said to be just a tool to help us do better. Data visualization therefore should be able to make the data and information easily and quickly accessible as well as comprehensible. Without simplicity, it would be difficult to achieve other core principles and data visualization would serve no purpose to users.

  • Profile photo of Samantha Ann Regan

    In my opinion, “Simplify” is the most important of Stephen Few’s 8 core principles. For data visualization to be successful and come across clearly to it’s readers it needs to be simple. For example, in Tuesday’s class we viewed good and bad data visualizations but when the charts or diagrams used were confusing or poorly organized it was hard to tell what the actual data was trying to inform us about. If the reader doesn’t understand what the visualization is trying to get across because it is too complex or messy then there really is no point to having it since it’s purpose to view data in an easier perspective. With simple data visualizations you can get right to the import information with ease.

  • Profile photo of Justin Kish

    In my own opinion, I believe that “Simplify” is the most important key principle. This idea is can be easily be forgotten due to the complexity of large data sources. By someone who is creating the data visualization, its its very important to realize that to get your point across, you must make the conclusion that you are trying to show easily seen. To create a simple visualization, you have to think in position of the reader who might have no idea on the topic, but you must use the data to show that something needs to change or look at the problem being shown in the graphic.

  • Profile photo of Nicholas F Fieo

    Hoven, in his article, “Stephen Few on Data Visualization: 8 Core Principles,” discusses the eight core principles to data visualization. Of the eight, I strongly believe that the core principle “attend” is the most important. I believe that it is extremely important for an audience to be able to view the data while staying focused. It is quite easy to be distracted as well as overlook details in data visualizations. To be able to pay attention and actually digest the data before one’s self is crucial in understanding data.

  • Profile photo of Kyle M Haberman

    In my opinion, asking “why” is the most important core principle of data visualization. Even if there is a trend in a set of data, it is important to know the reason as to why such a trend exists. By asking “why” and coming up with an answer, the analyzed data can be put to use. Understanding why certain trends exist allows analysts to implement data to improve a situation.

  • I believe that “Simplify” is the most important of Stephen Few’s 8 core principles, because simplify is concentrate most important information and leave out unimportant data, which easily seen and easily understand so that these data are able to leave a deep impression to audience. Most people do not like complicated thing and do not want to waste their time on boring, so simplify is key to access data and other core principles.

  • Of all 8 core principles from Hoven’s article, I think “Simplify” would be the most important principle. Currently, tons of data are among us. It is these data that will make people feel uncomfortable and restless since they are enormous and complex. However, simplifying of data visualization is an efficient way to help people to understand things easily and quickly. Therefore, I think “Simplify” is the most important thing of 8 core principles.

  • Profile photo of Christopher David Jackson

    Out of the eight core principles that Stephen Few mentioned, I think the most vital one talked about was “view diversely.” The reason for this is because without diversity, a person’s view can be easily misconstrued. The keyword in this particular situation is perspective. If you look at things differently than one normally does, it helps better relate with people who have these different morals or experiences. Trying to predict how data would fit together I think would be useful.

  • Profile photo of Hung Dau

    I personally suppose that the most important principle is “Be skeptical.” Being skeptical is really necessary because cause it allows us to question more about the Data. As before, people always think of data as something extremely complex and rarely question the answers they get from the data. People need to have the motivation to be more curious; then, “Be skeptical” is the one that is needed.

  • Profile photo of Melissa Ashley Huck

    In Stephen Few’s “8 Core Principles article, I believe that the most important core principle is to “Simplify”. By simplifying data it’s easier to view the data as a whole to see the “big picture”. For data to be comprehended and controlled it needs to be simple, that way if it’s looked at it can be analyzed quickly and effectively. The other core principles mentioned in this article would be difficult to look at if the data is not simple. The lack of organization or complexity of the data may be hard to comprehend especially when you’re looking at multiple data sets at a time. In today’s world, all businesses are on a time cruch, without data simplification it could really slow a business down.

  • Profile photo of John Barone

    I believe the in the 8 core principles article that the “simplify” is the most important principle. Data is no good if it is too confusing to understand and are hard to read. He compares good visualization to an artist by saying a good one can capture emotion with few lines good, a visualization can capture data without oversimplifying. In order to determine whether a visualization it must be able to translate the data to the viewer.

  • Profile photo of Yan Chen

    According to the article “Stephen Few on Data Visualization: 8 Core Principles”, I think the most important point is to simplify. Today we need to face more and more data, and if we cannot make the data brief and clear, the pattern can be difficult to find. And simplify will become more difficult in future, not just because there will be more “dirty data” and “trashy data”, but the number of data that needs to be analysis will increase.

  • Profile photo of Xiaoxue Xia

    I think the most important principle of the eight is simplicity. The most important thing of data is to make audiences understand in order to leverage the data. Data visualization will be meaningless if it is not simple enough for audiences to understand. It will be insufficient and other essential parts in the data will not been seen by the audiences. The visualization will be a waste of time. Even the data is significant, it will not be utilized effectively.

  • In my opinion, the most important of the “8 Core Principles” is “simplify”. When looking at data, people can often be confused by too much information being presented at once. Confusion can lead to inefficiency, as people may misinterpret the data. Without simplifying, data also tends to seem unorganized and in turn, leads people astray from wanting to fully analyze the data.

  • Profile photo of Qisheng Chen

    In my opinion. the most significant point among eight core principle is “ask why”. Obviously, data only have value when we use them appropriately. Therefore, in order to achieve this goal, we need to know why it is happening instead of what is happening.Only by this way, we can make sure everything is controlled in our hand.

  • To me the most important principle of the eight core principles is to ask why? Looking at data, you can always tell what’s happening but to ask why is it happening can be helpful. For instance, if you are looking at data and are trying to figure out a way to improve the results, you might need to know how and why did you get the results that you got. Asking yourself some of these questions can not only help you answer these questions but it can also give you a better understanding for the data provided.

  • Profile photo of Linh H Dang

    I believe that among the eight core principles mentioned by Stephen Few, “Simplify” is the most important one because it allows visualized data to be noticed and digested in an age where data are so plentiful that we spend less time on each set of data. Social media platforms provide good examples. On many occasions, we scroll quickly through our Facebook news feeds or Twitter pages, stopping only to take in simple pieces of information such as funny pictures or simple headlines. Simplifying visualizations is the best way to make sure that the data presented are relevant and accurate, but still noticeable.

  • Out of the eight core principles, asking why is the most important to me. Data visualization gives us the tool to see the information presented in a way that is easy on the eye. It shows us what is happening, but it doesn’t exactly tell us what to do. We need to ask why this is happening, so we can come up with answers.

  • Profile photo of Joseph A Guadagno

    Although the 8 core principles all have significant meaning in data visualization, there is one in particular that I would value above the rest. In my opinion, the most important principle of data visualization is to be skeptical about the data we are using in our graphics. Too many times we take the information that we have uncovered as true before even reviewing it. This could lead to discrepancies in the data we are displaying to the audience, and the ACTUAL numbers that go along with the figure we are trying to prove.

  • Profile photo of Michael Richard Murray

    In my opinion the simplify step is the most important step out of the eight core principles. As data that is not simplified can be hard to understand for most people. Also, I believe that the more simplified the data is the less confusion there will be for people looking at the data. Finally, I believe that no one likes to look at data that is too in depth when it doesn’t need to be as I was always taught short and simple is the best way to get a point across and i believe that is the same with data.

  • Profile photo of Xuying Jiang

    In the article “Stephen Few on Data Visualization: 8 Core Principles”, for me, the “simplify” is the most important principle. The original data mostly is very complicated and not easy to understand for everyone. Why people want to make the data visualized, because they want more different readers no matter how education level they are could understand what do those data mean. Simplifying during the data visualization would help more people to access the data. For general, no one want to pay a lot time to figure out what do those data mean. This is a data period, data is everywhere, and everyone see the data everyday. Simplified data would help people do the job efficiently and make the life convenient.

  • Profile photo of Andrew T Davis

    Of all the core principles of the Hoven article, I feel as though “simplify” is the most important when it comes to analyzing and interpreting data. Often times with data, massive amounts of information can be spread out and presented in a clumsy and unorganized fashion that often times makes reading the data much more cumbersome and difficult. Simplifying the data in ways that not only makes it easier to discern, but also to organize will make for a much better way for anyone viewing the data to get an idea for what they are looking at and how to analyze it. The less time people spend trying to figure out what the data in front of them means, the better. Often times it is simple steps that can be taken to avoid over complicating data, such as using color codes or using a smarter way of presenting a given data type.

  • I think the “SIMPLIFY” is the most important part. Because the original data is very hard to understand for most people, and the simplify step is let the people can easily to understand those complicated data. And everybody likes to read the short simple data .

  • Profile photo of Cheng Zheng

    Personally, I believe the “simplify” is the most important one. The reason why we want data visualization is because we want it simple and easy to be understand. Imaging there have a massive number that you want to utilize, and it is hard to find something valuable by just looking at those numbers. However, when you simplify them with the help of data visualization, it is not only easy to understand, but also find the valuable data.

  • Of all the core principles of the Hoven article, I think ask why is the most important part for me. because, I’m willing to know the reason than the result. It lets us know what exactly happened and we can come out the answer by ourselves instead of just get the answer without thinking.

  • I find to “ask why” be the most important principal of the 8. It allows for businesses to act and create the most efficient business environment based on data analysis. If nobody took the data and asked why, it would not benefit in any way.

  • the Data visualization let processing information more efficiency ,convenient and fast. But Time is very precious now ,we don’t have long time to read some information.lots of information is not useful .so how to let Data visualization more short and efficiency is very important .

  • Profile photo of Nurrin Ajmal Nurrinanuwar

    In Stephen Few’s article on the 8 core principle of data visualization, I feel that the most important principle is to “Simplify”. This is because when we simplify raw data, it is easier for us to understand what the data is all about. Simplified data will allow us to see the data clearly and from that, we can explore into depth the data, we can ask questions about it and make a lot more valuable observations. If we want to ask questions or explore just raw data without simplifying it, it will be a lot harder and it will slow us down from making critical observations that we can do it easily with the help of data visualization.

  • Profile photo of Heshuo Zhang

    I find the principle “Simplify” to be the most important of the 8 Core Principles on Data Visualization for three reasons. First of all, when faced to massive database, readers feel boring and dull easily. So, “Simplify” may let readers pay more attention on data itself. Secondly, simplify database can let readers understand easier and get main point. Finally, one reason to search and collect database is researchers may have no time to get data from real life. Therefore, simplify data can help researchers achieve their aims quickly.

  • Profile photo of Xiaowen Yang

    In the article: Stephen Few on Data Visualization: 8 Core Principles. I think the most important principle is “Simplify”. Because, the purpose of data visualization is make the complex and plenty data to being easily look and understand. And like Stephen Few said in his article, data visualization is just like a tool; how we use tools in our life? We use tools for convenience, for making live simply and not for difficult. So I believe the simplify is the most important part of data visualization.

  • I think the explore priciple is the most important. If the visualization only shows you something then you will only learn that one thing. If you can explore the data you may end up asking questions you didn’t relize you needed the answer to. This will help you to learn all you can and understand the information more fully.

  • Profile photo of Michael L Baker

    I think the most important principle is “Be Skeptical”. It’s hugely important to ask questions and figure out why data is relevant. While there might be limitations through programs, using tools that allow you to question data is a step in the right direction. Asking questions always gives you more answers than just accepting what you’re given.

  • Profile photo of Moira R Bythrow

    Of the 8 Core Principles, I believe the most important is the “ask why” principle. This principle is where people can discover why something is happening, rather than the simpler question of what is happening. If you can’t understand and explain the ‘why’ in any data visualization, you will not be able to fully grasp the concept at hand, and the data visualization will not mean anything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Office Hours
Laurel Miller (instructor) 9:30am-10:30am, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Speakman Hall 210 or by appointment.
ITA information
Zachary Cehelsky-DeAngelo (ITA) By appointment only. Email:
Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 35 other subscribers