From CS 294-10 Visualization Sp10

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Good Visualization

Good Visualization  (Source: IEEE Spectrum, July 2006 pg. 26)

This image depicts the various steps in doing fingerprint matching. I liked this visualization for the following reasons:

  • The image is simple enough for those with no biological knowledge of fingerprints to understand.
  • The diagram is able to depict both the systems and biology involved in the process and does so in a way that it's clear how all the different components are interacting.
  • The diagram stands alone. The accompanying text is not necessary to understand the diagram.

Bad Visualization

Bad Visualization  (Source: Communications of the ACM, 10/2009 Vol 52 No 10 pg. 62)

This image shows the presence of 12 computational patterns in 12 different applications. The following problems exist with this visualization:

  • The key to the colors on the chart is in text in the graph's caption, making it difficult to quickly understand what each color means.
  • The scale used is high/moderate/low/rare, which is very vague - it's unclear whether they're using absolute numbers or percentages of products in each industry or something else.
  • The 5 applications on the right side of the bold black line are Par Lab applications, while the 7 on the left are general. However, it's not clear from the graph or its caption why the Par Lab applications have wider boxes.

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