Lectures 11-12: graphs, etc
- Lecture 3 ("Good & Bad Graphs") of Ross Ihaka's course on Information Visualisation is a good introduction to some of things to watch for when graphing.
- Edward Tufte has produced excellent and beautiful books on visualising information: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Envisioning Information, Visual Explanations, and Beautiful Evidence.
Good & Bad Graphs: Concepts
Based on Ross Ihaka's lecture (see above).
- Data content Small amounts of data do not require graphs. The human brain can easily grasp one, two or three values.
- Data relevance You cannot produce a good graph from bad data: graphs are only as good as the data they display.
- Complexity Graphs should be no more complex than the data they display. Avoid "chart junk": irrelevant decoration, unnecessary colour, 3D effects. Use the ink to display the data, not junk.
- Distortion Graphs should not give a distorted picture of the values they portray.
- Story Decide what "story" you want the graph to tell. The same data can tell many stories, what is important for communicating your ideas?