Poor Form: Reading Review

The author begins by providing sound advice for creating data visualizations. Specific points that I took away include: one of the first considerations is determining who the audience is - what may work for a group of experts will likely be different than what would work for a general audience. Another point of advice would be to get into the habit of thinking about the relationship between the structure of your data and the perceptual features of your graphics - this being a practice that will help guide the designer as they develop good taste-based judgments. There are many factors discussed throughout this chapter that are essential to consider and make educated decisions on when making a data visualization.

I found it helpful how the author divided this chapter into sections relating to different aspects of visual design, vs. throwing a variety of examples at the reader at once. What I found especially interesting is the perception section and how color can easily lead to misrepresenting data. When creating visualizations, the designer is responsible for deeply considering many factors and making deliberate design decisions throughout. It can be easy to arbitrarily choose design elements, colors, layout, but in the end, every element is contributing to how the data is being communicated and how it will be perceived.

The chapter is an important reminder than data visualization isn't the end-all be-all with communicating. It can be confusing and misleading, even to the person interpreting the data and creating the visualization. It is important to use good taste, but we also need to focus on making better use of the data we have, communicate it appropriately with cautiously selected visual tools, and to ultimately glean new information. I'm curious to hear from my peers what they envision their process to be when approaching a new project from start to finish. I see there being a need for taking time to complete a fair amount of preliminary research relating to the tools you will use and the context of the message your communicating prior to laying out anything visual.

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