From CS 294-10 Visualization Sp10

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Bad Visualization: Image:badviz.jpg I came across this visualization in one of my economics textbooks, and even as an undergrad, the various issues involved were clear to me. I thought I should try and reproduce them for this assignment. Some issues with the visualization are:

  • To be able to see the difference between two data points in the two graphs for the purpose of comparison of the population growth rates, one has to extract numerical readings from each graph and manually subtract.
  • Drawing the graphs separately doesn't make the difference perceptually appealing to the audience. The graph in its current form doesn't convey the intended message effectively.

Suggestions for improvement:

  • Trying to put all the information on the same graph, and possibly using color coding.
  • Use of area, orientation or even things like grayscale can make the difference in growth rate more appealing.

Source: Principles of Microeconomics. Prentice-Hall, 1996.

Good Visualization:


I have always found the BART map to be a good visualization. Even when I was new to Berkeley, I never had any trouble looking at it and finding which train I need to take. The good points about this visualization are:

  • The color coding makes the different lines distinguishable from each other.
  • On similar lines of the first point, the colors used are quite different from each other in terms of the visual appeal.
  • The transfer stations are pretty visible.

Source: BART station, also BART website

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