Section 001, Instructor: Laurel Miller

Weekly Question #4: Complete by September 28

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on September 28. 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?

37 Responses to Weekly Question #4: Complete by September 28

  • To me, I think that viewing data diversely is one of the most important points of the 8 Core Principles. Many times, people tend to view data in one way: their own. By viewing data diversely, one opens up the possibility of having numerous interpretations. These different interpretations lead to other ways of analyzing data. Different perspectives have the ability to uncover nuances within data that one may not notice when only considering their own analyses.

  • I think the most important principle out of the eight from Hoven’s article is Explore. I noticed in class that a lot of the groups picked data visualizations that you were able to interact with. Interactive visuals allow us to explore the visuals more and find new things instead of the visual only answering one question. This also keeps your attention longer so you can be engaged more.

  • I believe that the most important step of these 8 principles is the first one, Simplify. There is a reason MIS majors are in such high demand in today’s corporate society, to take hundreds of thousands of cells of data into a way a common person could interpret it. From my experience at Pfizer this summer, I often had to take huge sheets, sometimes 500,000 cells, and make pivot tables and graphs in tableau to make things easier to understand for my bosses, aka simplifying.

  • I believe the most important principal is “simplification”. In a world where everything is so fast moving simplification can be vital. The ability to make a data visualization quick and easy to read is beneficial to the individual viewing it. Getting the point across quickly is the best way to go, the way to do this is by simplifying.

  • In my opinion, I believe the most important out of the eight principles is “Simplify”. I believe that Data Visualizations are used to display data in a way that nice and easy to interpret the data. If a visual is too complicated for the audience to comprehend, it is basically defeating the purpose of having a visual. Simplifying a visual to where the audience can understand the data at first glance is what makes a data visual a great visual and it fulfills its purpose.

  • I believe that “Simplify” is the most important principle that Hoven lists. We live in a very fast paced world, and no one has the time, or desire, to sit and read. People want to be able to read several sentences, or look at an infographic, and get a concise idea of what they are reading. Data that is too many words or pictures will confuse the reader, resulting in a wasted amount of time that it took to put the visual together. The whole point of infographics and data visualization tools are to be short and sweet while delivering the information.

  • In my opinion, I believe that one of the most important principles is “Be Skeptical.” Data is like the new oil, it is all around us and easily mined so that we can investigate to provide new information, innovation, and insights. We have these huge amount of data and we are able to obtain data visualization, infographics. However, in the end, it is just a lot of numbers and more of unconnected facts and information. But if I can start to play around with this data, perhaps in a different way, interesting things and different patterns can be revealed. With more powerful software like Tableau, if I ask the right question or work it in the right way, interesting things will emerge.

  • From Hoven’s article, my take away is that the most important principle is to “be skeptical”. When looking at a data visualization, it is easy to take the information as objective facts rather than biased information. However, data is inherently biased because it is collected and presented by people with their own beliefs and objectives. Therefore, as consumers of data, we must look deeply and skeptically into the data that is presented to us, so we can get a more nuanced understanding.

  • In my opinion, the most important principle is to “simplify.” From my own experience, if I send an email to the residents on my floor and the data visualizations or graphics are too cluttered, many residents delete the email without reading the important content in it. Nobody wants to look at a visualization that is too cluttered or has too much information on it; likewise, no one wants to look at a visualization that is too technical or difficult to understand. Complex terms and ideas need to be readable by the majority of an audience, and images, data, charts, graphics, etc. should be easy to follow. However, it should not be too simplified; people should still be able to take away the ideas or themes the author intends.

  • I believe that the exploring principle is the most important. I feel this way because we can increase our knowledge by not just being introduced to what the author wants us to be introduced too. But by also seeing the relationships and interesting correlations that we deem important. Also it helps make the data process more fun which will encourage people to interact with data that much more.

  • In my opinion, I believe the most important principle out of the 8 is explore. It is very important for people to be able to do as much research as they would like to. Everyone will find knew information to share with the class, and then more things will be discovered. If explore was not one of the options, people would be looking and analyzing the same set of data, without finding anything new.

  • I believe the most important core principle is “simplify.” From my experience, I have always learned that less is always more. Sometimes there is filler data or information that is unnecessary. No one wants to read or look at visualizations that they cant understand, or that doesn’t have much purpose. Simplifying a data visualization is always the best and the easiest way to get the point you are making across.

  • the most important part of the 8 principle is “Be Skeptical”. When working with data, there are millions of rows and huge diversity of data, there is always a possibility for error if the data is not accurately being tested over and over again. Working within the data environment myself, I can verify that large data takes hours and hours to be verified before it is being created into a worth report to be presented to the audiences.

  • To me, I believe that the most important principle is explore. When it comes to something that is involving data, you should be exploring every and all types of data. It is important to get the most for your data set because then it will be more accurate.

  • I believe that Few’s principle about simplification is the most important out of all 8. This is because when you have a visualization with a point you’re trying to make or a message you’re trying to get out, having way too much information can lead readers to be confused or turned away immediately. Keeping your data visualization clear and concise will give readers a much easier time trying to understand and comprehend the data.

  • I think “Be Skeptical” is the most important principle to consider. Usually many of people use “Data” to be more persuasive and this is utilizing the fact that people believe data easily. Because numbers seem so accurate and objective, people prone to trust it without any verification. 21st century is the world of data and we should try to have ability to find out precise data and throw away unverifiable facts.
    Many of advertisements or private companies are misusing people’s strong trust on data. In this kind of situation, people should be more careful about the facts on the internet.

  • I believe the most important principle Few mentions is “Simplify.” Simplifying and being able to filter through the data that is valuable, allows for anyone viewing the visualization to have a better understanding of it. There is countless amounts of data to put into one visualization to begin with. The time consumption in going through the important data is extremely worth it, especially for students when needing to look up data that is subject specific. Data visualizations and infographics should be able to provide the viewer with simplistic instant information that is easily understood.

  • I feel that the most crucial point that Few discusses is “Ask Why.” What causes data to look the way it does always has a reason and that can be more important than the data itself. Without answering the question of why something is the way it is, data is nothing but a meaningless table of numbers, there must be reasoning to provide value.

  • In my opinion, “ask why” is the most important principle mainly because I do it often. I’ve always been known to ask questions especially if I did not understand. So when it comes to data, asking why can possibly lead to answers. For an example, why is this relevant, why are we getting this data, why this graph or table? Like Stephen said we also need to know why this is happening instead of just what is happening.

  • To me, the most important of the principles Hoven discuses is explore. The message that comes with this principle is the most effective to me because I believe the more in depth the date is, the better you will comprehend. Exploring more into data and figuring out the variables as to why and how certain data is collected. Also using more interactive data sets seems to attract people to use it more and go and look into more information themselves. The principle of explore establishes the extra mile you can go too and discover more about datasets and what they hold.

  • According to Stephen Few’s article, I believe the most important data visualization principle is to simplify. Data visualizations are used so the people using them can better understand their data. Since some people are visual learners, these can be a great tool. However, if data visualizations are too complex, no one will be able to understand them.

  • I feel that the most important principle of the eight is “Simplify.” Complex visualizations with vast amounts of data can make the visualization unappealing to the eye and overwhelm the viewer. Viewers are then forced to spend much time sorting through all of the information in order to find what they are actually concerned with. Keeping visualizations simple gets a viewers attention, effectively gets the point across, and allows the viewer to move on.

  • I think that all of the eight steps are necessary for a clear cut data visualization. However, I believe that the step “simplify” is the most important. With some visualizations containing so many numbers and pieces of data it can be easy for the overall message to be lost. Therefore, as long as the data is simplified and easy to comprehend, then the message of it should not be lost. In my opinion, all of the other seven steps are not as feasible without this step.

  • In my opinion, I believe that “View Diversity” is the most important principle of data visualization. If you are able to view data in several different ways, it enables you to truly get a good understanding of whatever it is you are looking into. Being able to look at data from several different perspectives is extremely helpful in that you have more to compare. Without “diversity”, all you would be doing is looking at one data set, represented in one way, and basing your opinion/research solely based off of that. Having several representations of that data gives you more to look at, and more to base your opinion off of, which is why I believe it’s the most important.

  • In my opinion, I think the most important principle out of the eight from Hoven’s article is “Simplify”. Today people are more visual and data that is simplified is easier to understand. The more simple it is the better it is for the consumer because they don’t have to spend a lot of time to read the data.

  • I think the most important principle is to “Simplify”. i think its important because if a visualization is complicated its not helping at all, it would make things more difficult. So simplifying makes the data easier to read.

  • I think all of Stephen Few’s principles for data visualization are important, but more so then the others to “Simplify”. The whole purpose of a data visualization is to simplify data sets and make them easy to read. Few put simplification as the first principle for a reason, because if reading the data visualization is as simple as reading the raw date then their is no point in the visualization at all.

  • I believe that the most important principle from the article is “simplify.” The entire point of data visualization is to make it understandable and readable for everyone. By making an elaborate and complicated visualization, that defeats the purpose. A visualization can be accurate and full of information but if it is not simplified, it won’t be easy to obtain the information provided by it.

  • In my opinion, “simplify” is the most important of the 8. Too often data visualizations become too bogged down with unnecessary pieces, and the focus becomes diluted. Complex visualizations are counterproductive for this reason, as visualizations are supposed to and facilitate understanding of data.

  • I believe the most important principle from Hoven’s article is “simplify.” One reason is because too much data makes it difficult for readers to understand the data given. So I am a firm believer of the less the better. Another reason is because complex visualizations causes people to misinterpret data. Therefore accurate and simple visuals help others understand the data that is being given.

  • Looking over Hoven’s article, I feel that the most important principle is “being skeptical”. We have all the world’s data at our fingertips, and as such we never really question it. If we were to take a step back and question how and why we get our data, it will allow us to understand it at a higher level. It will allow us to learn and grow from all the data that we consume.

  • From Hoven’s article the most important principle in my opinion is “Simplify”, it seems to me that this is in essence what a good data visualization attempts to provide. The simplification of larger data sets into something that is simpler to read and draw conclusions from is really the core idea behind any data visualization. The other principles help provide a more effective communication of the simplified data, but without a simplified data set the concept of clearly communicating any idea becomes difficult regardless of the graphic or medium used to communicate.

  • The most important principle that Hoven discussed was to “be skeptical”. Being skeptical is what stands out to me as the most important core principle in data visualization because of how tunnel visioned we can become.By being a skeptic, it allows for more opportunities for validation for your already existing data.

  • I believe that the most important principle that was discussed is to “view diversity”. I find this to be important because, too often research is done without all viewpoints. Viewing diversity will open up the possibility for fixing what could have been an error or adding additional information to the data set. Finally, viewing diversity is what i believe to be the most important because it is combining those outside views and fitting them in with the original data.

  • believe the most important step is View Diversely. We should be able to separate ourselves and our own opinions from the specific data. It is valuable to look at data and try to see it from different perspectives. If we do this, we can see how this particular data can influence and effect other people besides ourselves. Doing this, will show who this particular data will be the most beneficial for.

  • Out of the 8 core principles, to me, asking “why?” is the most important principle. When it comes to receiving big data, knowing “why” can help you articulate the collective data that you have, and provide it to your client.

  • When looking at the article, I believe that the most important of the 8 principles would be the simplify step. Being that people in the field have to work with such large amounts of data, simplifying helps everyone by pulling out key information and getting to the point. The entire point of MIS is to draw conclusions from the data that you are analyzing, so the simplification step is extremely necessary for the information to actually mean something to those who are using it.

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Office Hours
Laurel Miller (instructor) 1:00-2:00pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Speakman Hall 207F or by appointment.
ITA information
Rebecca Jackson (ITA) By appointment only. Email: