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Displaying Quantitative InformationPowerPoint Presentation

Displaying Quantitative Information

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### Displaying Quantitative Information

An exploration of Edward R. Tufte’s

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Jeffrey Nichols

Programming Usable Interfaces

May 2, 2003

Good graphics

Napolean’s invasion of Russia, as drawn by Charles Joseph Minard (1781-1870)

More good graphics

The price of wheat compared to labour wages, William Playfair (1759-1823)

More good graphics

French train schedule, as drawn by E.J. Marey (1830-1904)

How can we make better graphics?

Tufte presents some principles of data graphics

- Above all else, show the data.
- Maximize the data-ink ratio
- Erase non-data-ink
- Erase redundant data-ink
- Revise and edit

Data-Ink Ratio

data-ink

Data-ink ratio =

Total ink used to print graphic

= Proportion of a graphic’s ink devoted to the non-redundant display of data-information.

= 1.0 – proportion of graphic that can be erased without the loss of information

How can we make better graphics?

Tufte presents some principles of data graphics

- Above all else, show the data.
- Maximize the data-ink ratio
- Within reason
- Every bit of ink on a graphic requires a reason

- Erase non-data-ink
- Erase redundant data-ink
- Revise and edit

How can we make better graphics?

Tufte presents some principles of data graphics

- Above all else, show the data.
- Maximize the data-ink ratio
- Erase non-data-ink
- Erase redundant data-ink
- Revise and edit

Erase non-data-ink, within reason

11

5

2

1

0

18

7

Histogram of Midterm Results

# of Students

A-

B+

A

B

B-

C

Scoring Buckets

Erase redundant data-ink

11

5

2

1

0

18

7

Histogram of Midterm Results

# of Students

A-

B+

A

B

B-

C

Scoring Buckets

Erase redundant data-ink

18

11

5

2

1

0

7

Histogram of Midterm Results

What’s the data-ink ratio?

# of Students

A-

B+

A

B

B-

C

Scoring Buckets

How can we make better graphics?

Tufte presents some principles of data graphics

- Above all else, show the data.
- Maximize the data-ink ratio
- Erase non-data-ink
- Erase redundant data-ink
- Revise and edit

The Principles Applied to Common Forms

Another Scatter Plot Variant

Conclusions

- Show data variation, not design variation
- Avoid using ink for non-data items
- Avoid redundancy
- Clear and detailed labeling should be used to defeat graphical distortion
- Revise and Edit

Tufte’s Principles

- Graphical Integrity
- The representation of numbers, as physically measured on the surface of the graphic itself, should be directly proportional to the numerical quantities represented.
- Clear, detailed, and thorough labeling should be used to defeat graphical distortion and ambiguity. Write out explanations of the data on the graphic itself. Label important events in the data.
- Show data variation, not design variation.
- In time-series displays of money, deflated and standardized units of monetary measurement are nearly always better than nominal units.
- The number of information-carrying (variable) dimensions depicted should not exceed the number of dimensions in the data.
- Graphics must not quote the data out of context.

- Theory of Data Graphics
- Above all else, show the data.
- Maximize the data-ink ratio
- Erase non-data-ink
- Erase redundant data-ink
- Revise and edit

- Other comments
- Graphical elegance is often found in simplicity of design and complexity of data
- Data graphics are paragraphs about data and should be treated as such

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