Section 004, Instructor: Larry Dignan

Weekly Question #4: Complete by Feb 19

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on Feb. 19, 2018. 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?

31 Responses to Weekly Question #4: Complete by Feb 19

  • When we were distinguishing in class about good and bad infographics, the most noticeable similarity between the bad infographics was the complexity. Because of this, I believe that the simplification principle is the most important when trying to visualize your data. The main point of data visualization is to make it easy for your viewers to understand your information, but it’s easy for your main idea to get lost in the wash if you over-complicate your data and make your visualization hard to read.

  • I think the most important Data Visualization principle is to simplify. No data set is easy to read or interpret if there is too much data, or irrelevant data in the mix. The point of data visualization is to get a clear picture of the data without having to look through it. Although other principles are important such as comparing and attending, they would not matter if the data was not simplified.

  • In my opinion, the most important data visualization principle is to be skeptical. Few is correct in stating that most people accept the first answer provided in a data set because it is difficult to accurately perform data analysis on their own. Data can easily be manipulated and anyone can use data in multiple ways to prove their own preconceived biases. It is important to take any “fact” confirmed by data skeptically because certain individuals could have poor motives when claiming what is fact/fiction.

  • I believe that asking why would be the most important data visualization principle. Asking why further investigates where actionable results come from. Knowing whats happening can be easily be stated, noted, and examined, however understanding why it happened can result in a more beneficial way. For example, if a hazard, such as a fire, were to burn down a building, the “what” occurrence would be the fire which resulted damage to the building, however understanding why the fire was caused the building to burn could be the result of multiple answers. By pinpointing why the fire was caused, fires could be further prevented from the same occurrence happening again.

  • In my opinion, two most important principles are to simplify and to compare. Visualizing data should make it more accessible and understandable to an average reader – by creating piles of bars and/or unclear maps that are overwhelmed with numbers we only make whoever is looking at our chart confused and annoyed. Same reason is for presenting a clear comparison, as we do not always retain information in our mind as far as difference between certain values, so I find it crucial to emphasize that distinction by presenting both (or all) values side by side.

  • Of the eight principles, I think “Attend” is the most important. If the data visualization is not drawing a viewers attention, or drawing his or her attention to the wrong thing, the data visualization is not effective. Bringing a viewers attention to the most important information is the main point of creating a visualization.

  • I believe “ask why” is the most important principle of the data visualization. It’s easy to tell the users what’s the result. However, if a data visualization is failing to address what is the cause of the result or reason of the result, the data visualization is meaningless. By allowing the viewers to understand why such result was drawn, the user can use the data to draw other results at different times.

  • Asking “why” is the foundation of any action or application. You can talk about the simplicity of a data visualization, compare it to others, explore and look at it in different ways etc… None of this gets you results if you don’t know why you’re looking at it. Knowing the “why” makes it easier to accurately respond to the data. From there, you can begin to be skeptical and ask other questions. The book “Start With Why” by bestselling author Simon Sinek illustrates that starting with “why” is the most important element to practically anything. After reading that book it was easy to determine that “why” was the most important principle from this list.

  • Personally, I believe that the principle “be skeptical” is extremely important. It is not enough to simply conduct an experiment and expect to get an accurate result right away. Exploring other options beyond traditional means of conducting experiments allows you to explore your results more. Accepting the first answer you get is not good experimenting.

  • The most important Data Visualization principle is simplicity. The more simple a message is, the easier it will convey. Labeling is crucial to the simplicity. Too many labels will lead to too much stimuli. If the data is too complex when visualized, it might mean the creator needs to go back and strain some of the information into a more digestible understandings.

  • I think that the most important data visualization principle is to “Simplify”. Data visualization should quantify a relationship by a very select amount of variables. Too often are figures calculated and shown that incorporate too many variables and leave the audience in a state of doubt as to what the relationship is trying to prove. Having a concise and straightforward graphic allows someone to understand the basic relationship between two maybe a few more variables without overwhelming their perspective. Within the other 7 core principles, one can incorporate a variable’s relationship with other variables and compare each relationship to one another. Simplification must give people enough information to be drawn in, but not too much information that they feel overwhelmed or disinterested.

  • I believe the most important is being skeptical. I think that people do not ask enough questions when it comes to data and are willing to just look at the first answer that comes up and take that as the final answer. The first thing you see is not always going to be the best answer for what you are looking for.

  • I believe the most important of Few’s data visualization principles is ask why. It is very easy to just look at a set of data and some visualized data, and take it in on the surface. It is crucial to know why the data says what it says, that is how you learn from it most effectively.

  • I think the most important of data visualization principles is “view diversely” and “ask why”, because different views of data could provide a different insight to information which i think could lead to asking questions. “Ask why” is just as important because after having different views of the information, now you can provide types of questions based on more than one view of the data.

  • Of the eight core principles, I believe “ask why” is the most important. A good data visualization can help display or simplify information for someone, but it is important for that person to know what this information is telling them. When someone can understand what and why the data is telling them, they are then able to take actions with that information. Understanding why something is happening is the first step to taking action.

  • I think that the most important data visualization principles is to “ask why” because it helps you understand what the importance of the information is doing. Asking why helps your overall standing of the data instead of just looking at it and accepting it. I think to ask why and being skeptic goes hand-in-hand. If you’re not asking questions about the data, then you are most likely taking it to be true.

  • The most important data visualization is to ask why. When creating or looking at data. You have to ask yourself. Why is this data created? Why all this information is so important. Its important to know that the audience that are taking a look a this data understand it.

  • I think the most important data visualization principle is simplify. Simplifying the data is important to understand the data. There is a lot of big data and simplifying it into terms that are easily understandable is crucial for data scientist.

  • I see a lot of responses that say simplification is the most important, which is hard to argue with, but to make things interesting I would suggest that asking why is the most important data visualization principle. Asking why is such a critical aspect of data visualization because it the reason–the story– as to why something is happening. It is not enough to have the data, it is integral to data visualization that we know why something is happening. The why helps us decide the next step to take.

  • In my opinion, the most important of the 8 principles is “attend”. That is to focus on the relevant data instead of bogging our brains down with both relevant and irrelevant data. With vast quantities of meta data at our disposal, it became difficult to see any relevancy for the most recent Tableau assignment without filtering the data. By filtering the data, the irrelevant data, which was much greater in quantity, was no longer prevalent and I was able to successful answer the question of why are we creating this data visualization in the first place. Asking why is important but it becomes a nearly impossible feat without attending to the relevant data.

  • I think that Simplify is the most important core principle. That is to restrict the results to simple options that would not overwhelm a user. Tool like Tableau that proactively gives users options to display their data is the ideal tool for users that just want easy to work with information.

  • I think the most important principle is to simplify. This is because it will simplify all of the data so it becomes easier for the user. When there is too much data that is tried to be put in the same visualization, everything will be confusing. Once simplified, the data can be used to complete the rest of the principles and to capture the best visualization possible.

  • In my opinion, the most important principle is “Ask Why?” because data will just be data if there isn’t any interpretation. Asking Why is how to turn data alive and make sense. Our goal in using Data is to finally understand the core behavior of the customer, with that goal in mind asking why is so important to keep us on track.

  • I believe that the most important principle when it comes to data visualization is the be skeptical principle. It is important to explore the data to find the reason that this data came up. If you can find out why you have a better chance of predicting future data in that field. This can be difficult when dealing with big data but is very necessary to find the underlying reason for the change in data.

  • Out of the 8 principles, I think the most important is “Be skeptical”. I think as we have discussed in class, distinguishing the signal from the noise is the most important aspect of data analysis, and it requires us to keep testing our assumptions. Data can be misleading in majority of cases simply because of the variety, volume and chance happenings. It is possible to find causal relationships between unrelated variables simply because of the abundance of data. Thus, it is essential to use methods to eliminate these chance happenings and keep experimenting with the data before coming to conclusions.

  • I believe the most important principle of the 8 is the “be skeptical” principle. I believe this because I agree completely with the fact that people will generally settle for the first logical answer because it is too difficult to dig deeper. If someone does dig deep they could find even more information or just interpret the data in a different way to find something new. There could be different levels within the hypothesis that is being tested by the data set so if someone is not skeptical they may just be tempted to say the hypothesis is true even though it is false.

  • In my opinions, the most important principle of Data Visualization is the simplicity. Visuals that are too complex are harder to read making it tough to comprehend. The more simple the visuals are, the easier it is to comprehend and analyze. The simplicity makes data much easier to graph and should only be made more complex is more professional situations.

  • The most important of the 8 “Core Principles” is “Simplify.” Data visualizations only work if they can be read and understood by their audience. A good data visualization is not about overcomplicated designs or formats, a good data visualization gets the point of data across easily, without confusing those who read it. If a data visualization can not be understood, it is pointless. Without meaning, a data visualization is simply some pictures with numbers and words. So while it is important to have solid data and solid visualization to accompany and enhance it, there is no need to overcomplicate and overanalyze these visualizations.

  • I believe simplicity is most important. Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it in under a minute, you don’t really understand it.” the visuals need to be clear in what they are trying to explain and be organized in such a way to draw the viewers eye to important info.

  • I find that “Simplify” is the most important principle. My favorite aspect of Tableau is that it is highly navigable and very user-friendly, and that is very easy to create clean, straightforward data visualizations. It doesn’t take a data specialist to maneuver through the processes of creating data visualizations with Tableau, and so far I have found the process to even be fun, which I didn’t expect.

  • It is my opinion that simplification is the most important principle in regards to infographics. When the visualization of data is to complex it defeats the purpose of using a visuals to help make data easier to understand. Having simple graphics that aid in the understanding of infographics goes a long way when trying to get the viewer to understand the main point you’re trying to get across. Complex visuals additionally can make the viewer confused and or uninterested the infographic and therefore, keeping it simple and easy to understand should always be a priority!

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Office Hours
Larry Dignan lawrence.dignan@temple.edu Alter Hall 232 267.614.6467 Class time: 5:30-8pm, Mondays Office hours: Monday hour before class, half hour after class or by appointment.