Section 003, 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?

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

  • I believe that asking why is the most important principle of all. This is because data is all around us but if we don’t ask why the data is a certain way we wont know be able to discover new patterns. If instead we ask why the data is this way before trying to look at data we could potentially find a new patterns effecting the original data we had which in turn could discover a whole new trend.

  • I believe compare is the most important of the eight principles. When two data sets are compared side by side, the message being conveyed is readily noticeable to the audience. The audience is able to use their eyes and immediately grasp the concepts being addressed to them. This will, in turn, make a presentation more effective.

  • In my opinion, simplifying the data visualization is the most important of the eight core principles. As the main purpose of data visualization is to allow viewers to be able to quickly understand the data and its’ conclusions, simplifying the data visualization is key. When a visualization is too complicated or even adds complexity to a data set, the visualization adds no value to the viewer, or even takes away from their understanding. While all of the eight core principles are important, simplifying the visualization is most important in my opinion as it allows the viewer to comprehend the conveyed information and easily draw conclusions from the data.

  • Asking why is the the most important in my opinion, because it helps analyze the data. If one looks at data and just accepts it and moves on, they could miss underlining detail, but asking by asking, why, you open up to the idea of exploring reason and analyzing more closely to find the reasoning. The more you ask why, the more you will discover, and can also help you trace the source and trends of the data.

  • In my opinion Asking Why is the most important, because it allows someone to fully immerse themselves in the process of analyzing data. It is easy to see scan the data and accept the first analysis you come to, however, by doing this you’re not getting further insight or understanding of why you got to the answer you did. By asking why, you identify a new set of information that opens the door for multiple answers rather then just one, which may allow for greater discoveries down the line.

  • From Hoven’s article, I think the most important principle would be to Simplify. It is the most important because simplifying the data makes it easier to read and understand. Without being able to read and understand the data, it would be pointless.

  • I think the most important of the eight principles is View Diversely. It allows you to look at the same data in a different way, rather than just relying on one perspective. Not everyone is going to interpret data the same and this enables one to piece things together.

  • Simplify

    We are now living in a fast pace world. People are always on the move. Therefore, a simple yet full of information data visualization is gold. People will like the data you want to show if it is simplistic and can share it for better purpose. Thus, it is a great achievement if a data is presented in a very simple manner yet being meaningful.

  • In my opinion, “simplify” has to be one of the most important principles. We live in a world where— if things don’t make sense, quickly, we tend to move on. For instance, in college, we’re taught that our resumes, although text heavy, need to be appealing and grab the readers attention within 6 seconds. In six seconds your potential employer will scan your resume and decide whether or not you are worthy of the position. This stigma has always been present and was also reiterated in the “5-second rule” addressed by Kram in this week’s reading. By simplifying information both design and content-wise, it becomes easier to digest and retain.

  • Personally, I believe that the most important data visualization principle is “be skeptical.” In 2017, a majority of people have access to spreading information or data via social media or other platforms. It is on us to question the source, find data that either negates or supports visualizations, and not believe everything we read or hear. Anyone can make a visualization that is simple or comparable with other data, but we need to make sure this data is truthful.

  • From the eight principles of Data Visualization, I believe the one that is most important is “View Diversely” viewers should look at different views of the same data to see all the sides of the story so they can compare data. They provide different insights so you can look at the other side from the other perspective. This way you’re able to recognize data more efficiently.

  • After re-reading the article titled, “Stephen Few on Data Visualization: 8 Core Principles,” I believe that the sixth step, or the “ask why” step is the most important step. I believe this because it is easy to see what is happening, but without a reasonable explanation to the situation, you cannot find the real reason why the situation is happening. Detail is key when analyzing data because it leads to more accurate results and conclusions, and asking “why?” will help to draw out more detail.

  • I personally believe the most important principle is to view diversely. Although it might be a tricky task, it is imperative to collecting good data. The reason for this is because we often surround ourselves with opinions and data that come from sources biased to our beliefs. Whether this information comes from the people we follow on twitter, to the magazines we chose to read. Being able to view diversely creates more of an opportunity to see other sides to the data and opinions we see, which likely makes the data more reliable because it is no longer biased toward one viewpoint.

  • The most important principle is Simplify. We have all been in the position when we look at data and we don’t know where to start. If too much information is being displayed, it is difficult for the viewer to be able to analyze the data. If the creator keeps the data simple, it helps the viewer to understand what is important in the data and helps them to be able to correctly understand what is being shown.

  • I believe the most important principle is “Explore”. You aren’t going to know every question you will have answered before looking at the data. Data yields unexpected results all the time and without exploring them you won’t find any of them. Looking at data to answer only one question may be one of the least efficient ways of using data.

  • I believe that asking why is the most important principle. I believe this is the most important principle because asking questions is how you learn more information. Understanding “Why” helps us comprehend why we are doing what we’re doing. We need to know what’s going on and why that is happening.

  • I think “view diversely” is the most important of the 8 principles. I personally think it’s important to see data from different perspectives. Being able to see data in different ways allows you to understand it more, since sometimes you may not understand it if presented in a pie chart, but understand it more if presented in a bar graph. Also seeing different perspectives allows you to “explore” as well.

  • I believe “Simplify” is the most important of the 8 principles. Without simplifying the data, we should just have unnecessary data scattered all over the place. Simplifying the data makes it easier to visualize and organize key data needed to answer questions.

  • From Hoven’s article, I believe that comparing data visualization is the most important of the eight core principles because it is easier to compare data when they are right next to each other. Personally I believe that numbers and data have no value until you display them with purpose. With comparison it is easy to show the audience your main point from your data.

  • I think that “ask why” is the most important of the 8 core principles. This is the whole reason we look at data, to figure out the why. It’s not enough to just see what is happening, but in order to actually be able to utilize the results properly we have to understand why it’s happening the way it’s happening. That can help us figure out what steps we can take to fix a problem or even just realize one that we didn’t know before. Understanding a problem is the first step toward the solution.

  • In terms of data visualization, I feel the most important principle would be “be skeptical”. It allows us to dig deeper into the data rather than accepting it at point blank. By being skeptical, more can be uncovered or answered because of our stubborness to just accept the first and simplified answer. Besides that, “simplify” would also be among the most important because at the core, a data visualization should be simple enough to look at and understand within seconds. Rather than take time to figure how the visualization works, we can focus on what the data itself means.

  • Simplifying is the most important principle in data visualization. I think this because a visualization should be able to be read by anyone. One should assume that the person has no idea about the data but looking at the visualization, one can be able to understand. Making a visualization should be simple because the most effective ones allow people to understand it almost instantly.

  • I believe that view diversely is important because you have to look to the date from all point of view. Whatever I am interest in the subject or not. I think it is important to look to other people thinking about the data and what information they can get from it

  • I believe the most important concept of the 8 principles would be “asking why.” I find this very important because when you’re looking at data or some type of visualization, you should know whats going on, and what that data represents. If you just look at it and move on, then you won’t really fully understand or grasp what the data is trying to show you. Asking why will help answer questions on how, or what.

  • I think “Attend” is the most important principle of Hoven’s as it basically allows the viewer to access the most important data easily. A lot of times it is easy for info-graphics and data visualizations to confuse and try to do too much, rather by making sure that the important data is readily accessible to the viewer, the data’s most important aspects are quickly divulged to the audience. Furthermore often times the viewer does not spend a lot of time looking at one thing, so to make sure they at least come away with the most important data is essential.

  • I believe “simplify” is the most important of the 8 principles. Good visualizations are able to present information neatly, and also direct a viewer to what they are supposed to interpret from the data seamlessly. An overcomplicated visualization will not effectively communicate the message the data is supposed to convey, so the presentation must be simple and easy to follow.

  • I believe of the 8 principles discussed in Hoven article the most important is “view diversely.” My reasoning behind this is because for one to really understand and grasp the true meaning of a particular data set one must be able to understand it from many different points of view. Understanding a data set that can be shown through many different visuals proves that one has not just the ability to read the data but they also have the ability to apply the information extracted from the data to real life situations. This is why i feel of the 8 principles, view diversely is the most important.

  • In my opinion the most important principle of those 8 is be skeptical. Although each principle has its own merits and are very important, to me, being skeptical is what brings someone research even further. We should never stop once we come to the first conclusion we get, we need to continue to ask hard questions, although it makes our work longer and harder, it ultimately concludes with a greater conclusion based on the data we study. Being skeptical means taking the hard path not the easy one.

  • Simplify is the most important principle. When dealing with data, putting it together or viewing it, nobody wants things to be complicated. Just as the article says, after we choose something we do not want a bunch of additional options to chose from. We just want it done. What simplifying things does is keep data clean and understandable. You cannot ask for anything else in regards to dealing with data.

  • The most important principle discussed in the article in my opinion is asking why. I feel like we can do all these things to the data (the other 7 principles) for a better understanding of what’s happening within the data, but nothing will compare to knowing why the data forms the way it does. Knowing the reasoning behind the data we’re analyzing can answer questions we would never even think to ask.

  • I think the most important principles core is the simplify. That’s why we’d like to have great big data but not let people read academic papers or have an observation by themselves. We like data cause data is reliable and easy to understand, everyone can read it. So that’s why I think simplify is the most important core.

  • When first reading the article I though simplify would be the most important but after re-reading it and thinking from a creative stand point I believe that “explore” is the most important principle. U believe that it is the most important due to the fact that not everything can be learned or seen the exact same way from so many different people so by exploring it gives the option for new techniques and new outlooks on things that haven’t been done or have already been done and this principle just makes it possible to enhance or discover better things.

  • In my opinion I think “Compare” is the most important out of the eight core principles. Even thought all eight are important in different ways, being able to compare data and see data side by side is a huge factor. The people viewing the data is able to see all the differences between the different type of data collected. Without having the data side by side it will be much harder. It would be much harder looking up each piece of data rather than looking at all of them at the same time and seeing their similarities and differences.

  • In my opinion Simplify is the most important core value of Few’s 8 core values. It is important for readers to understand and be able to interpret the data being presented in data visualizations. If the Visualization is too complicated and readers can not interpret the data then the visualization has failed.

  • After reading the article “Stephen Few on Data Visualization: 8 Core Principles” which was wrote by Hoven, I think the most important one of eight principles is “Simplify”. In our daily life, we are involved in a fast-paced life. We need to deal with a large amount of data we faced and collect the useful information which we need. For example, we prefer to read the crispy news but not read the newspaper like before. Therefore, “Simplify” is the most important one, because it can help us to save a lot of time and make things easy to know clearly.

  • In my opinion, simplifying is the most important aspect of data visualization. All of the techniques work together in the end, however, when dealing with a lot of data it is necessary to present neat visuals so people can understand what they are looking at. The whole point of data is to effectively communicate information, so in order for people to process the information correctly their eye has to drawn to only what is important. Anything else is just distracting.

  • I believe “explore” is the most important of the 8 core principles of data visualization because it answers more than one question and has the potential to create more insights. By exploring, the individual can compare and experiment with the data to make it more meaningful to them. If they come across something interesting through exploration, then they may question it and try to find their answer. By further exploring to find their question, the individual will gain more knowledge about the data and essentially understand it better. Discoveries are made through exploration.

  • The most important aspect of data visualization in my view is View Diversely. I believe this because No humans are the same, everyone has a different view of things no matter what the topic is. Its also nice to look at the same data from different perspectives so one can get different insight of the data to answer questions like why and how. If everyone has the same view on the topic, then there wouldnt be any reasons to ask why this happen

  • I think that Simplify is the most important step for a few reasons. First, if a data visualization is too complicated, then people will naturally just not try to figure it out. We should not have to look at anything else than your end result and it should be simple. Also, its just good practice because it is the most efficient way to display data. Complicated data visualizations are not efficient.

  • The most important aspect in my eye is the ask why. To me, Knowledge is everything and if you’re not asking the right questions and getting the exact information you need how do you expect to get anywhere or let alone understand what you are reading. Knowing the reason behind the data gives you a better aspect of whats actually going on, making it easy for you to understand it. Because Without fully understanding it you can throw all the other principles out the window.

  • In my opinion, I think that asking why has to be the most important principle. If you don’t ask the question why, how will you understand how to interpret the data correctly, or even see new ways in which it could be arranged? Knowing why the data is set up how it is will eliminate questions one has on interpreting it and other related aspects or questions regarding “how”.

  • Out of the eight core principles of data visualization, I believe that “Simplify” is the most crucial of them all. If data is complex or extremely difficult to understand, then it would be extremely difficult to draw conclusions from it. There are lots of different data that can all be presented in different ways. This might make it a bit difficult at times to find the easiest way to present a particular data set. Nevertheless, if the data is simple, using the data will be simple as well.

  • I believe that simplify would be the best and most important principle out of the 8 principles in Hoven’s article. Data can be a confusing thing if it is not in an organized or neat format. It would be just a bunch of random numbers, letters, or variables to a user. Simplifying the data will allow its user to comprehend, analyze, interpret, and use the data for any arguments. Without simplifying, data would be pointless.

  • For me personally, I believe that “Simplify” is the most important principle of data visualization. The reason being, there can be huge amounts of ‘big data’. However, the overarching goal of data visualization is to simplify that big data into visualizations that make it easier to interpret. Complex visualizations do not accomplish that goal and thus, when creating data visualizations, the most important principle is to remember to simplify. The Hoven article makes it clear that good data visualization captures the essence of the data.

  • Compare is the most important core principle. If you can not compare the data how do you know the value of the data or the true meaning. The comparison gives clarity and understanding to the data.

  • Asking why is by far the most important because it pushes the analyst and the viewer to think about the “so what”. This step is crucial to critical thinking and problem-solving since it forces us to not just understand the problem but synthesize a solution to an insight. In the article, he explains that this is where the actionable results are derived, meaning it’s not just the answer but it’s the next step. Working for clients or on certain deliverables in the working world often means pushing hard to that point of “so what” so understand why you need to ask why is essential.

  • I believe that simplifying is the most important core principle of all. Making data visualization simple will make it easy to understand for audience. At the end we’re the purpose of designing data is to deliver a massage. And if that massage is hard to draw a conclusion from and hard to analyze, people will not take an effort of analyzing it or try to figure out what is the massage in that chart or infograph.

  • “Simplify” can certainly be argued to be the most important principle of visualization. Without simplification of information, especially large sets of information, the audience is left to interpret more pieces than they should be responsible for. In many instances, being forced to try to understand/read a graphic will deter an audience from caring much about its content. Simplification is the fundamental principle that not only helps to attract an audience, but educate them as well.

  • I think asking why is the most important principle of visualization. This is because many people can simply just look at the data and see what is happening, but not everyone can look at the data and know why it’s happening. I think this is something important to know because without the “why”, looking at the data might deter people from looking at your data and the goal is to have them interested in your data and understanding.

  • I think the of the 8 Stephen Fews core data visualization principles , the most important one is simplify. The point of data visualization is to understand a set of data in a much easier way. If the data visualization is complicated and you can’t even understand what its trying to convey, it doesn’t serve a purpose then. Data visualization must be simplified in a way that anyone on any education level could understand it.

  • I think that simplifying data visualizations is one of the most important principles. A clear, concise visualization will help those who are viewing it to easily understand the point of the visualization. Too many unnecessary additions can distract from the central idea and lead to misinterpretations.

  • I believe that the most important principle is to simplify. There is a significant amount of data out there but without the proper tools, it can be extremely difficult to understand. Being able to simplify the data into something that everybody can understand is the most important because that way there is no confusion and it enables them to have their own take on it.

  • The most important principle of data visualization is attend. It is common that when we view data and information that we can be attracted to the most important stuff. However, we can also be turned off by a too complex visualization. After all, a visualization is used to portray the most important information in a simple and pleasing manner. Therefore, attend stands as the most important principle because it aims to draw our attention to the most relevant information.

  • I think that the most important tool of data visualization that Hoven mentioned is to be skeptical. I think, nowadays, with fast access to multiple different types of media in various forms, mixed with our decreasing attention spans, it is too easy for us to move from one data visualization to the next one that is “fed” to us. Freshman year, I took a digital mapping class, and it taught me to be skeptical of maps, as there are different types and there is never 100% accuracy in the representations of countries. I think this applies to data visualizations as there is always human error when procuring and representing data, so people should take this into account. People should also question whether the information is being skewed to represent a certain phenomenon or not.

  • I believe ask why is the most important for a couple reasons. Firstly, it is the quintessential question when creating an infographic. Without it you have no goal when creating the visualization of data. It is the question you need to answer when trying to think of what you want to convey to your audience. Secondly I think it is completely necessary above all the other guidelines or rules for creating visualizations. If there was one that we had to follow and let the others go, I believe this would be the one that we would have to keep over the others.

  • I believe the most important principle of data visualization is to compare. If you don’t have anything to compare to your data, its basically just numbers on a screen that really have no value. However if that data were to be a different set of numbers if gives it more meaning. For instance if you were to compare data on two companies, you could tell by that data that one company is doing better than the other, but if you just had one company the data wouldn’t mean much.

  • I think the most important principle of Hoven’s Eight core principles is be skeptical. You can’t believe everything that is on the internet especially data. For every 1 good graph or chart of data there is 3 more bad graphs out there to confuse people. Always do research and look into the data instead of blindly believing it.
    William McAndrews

  • From the article I personally believe that the most important thing to do is to simplify. It is important for the masses of people to be able to understand the data.If it is in a unpresentable way it will be confusing for uneducated people. As in class we learned about just how much data you could be given when we learned about “big data”.

  • I think the most important one is to view diversly. The reason I believe this is most important because in my opinion things and places are better containing diversity. Also, you have other views and perspective of things. It can allow you to improve your visualizations.

  • I think the most important principle is asking why. You can’t do much with the results if you don’t know why you have them. Asking why gives meaning and purpose to your analysis.

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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: