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5 Misconceptions About Visualization

Nathan Yau, the force behind the visual data site Flowingdata.com, wants data flow to be understandable for non-experts. He recently advised departments at the Census Bureau on how to visualize their data.  While some people “got it,” others were laboring under some common misconceptions about effective presentation, software tools, layering of information, the myths of bias and the reliance on exact values.  In this article Yau lists five misconceptions that he has encountered that bear repeating.

You can spend a lot of time with icons or fancy print, but the graphics are interesting because the data that the visuals represent is interesting.  It should always be data first.  Certain graphics get eyeballs because they show something that wouldn’t be seen in a table. Visualization is less about the individual values and more about the distribution of them over time and space.

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