The Fundamentals of Data Visualization.

This blog is about the fundamentals of data visualization. The design space for data visualization is vast, much remains to be discovered and codified. Many data visualizations, charts and graphs rely on very simple encodings: size, color and location (x,y) as the visual attributes to compose the visualization. In this blog, the intention is to understand the limitations of these encodings and more importantly look beyond these to other ways and novel ways of encoding data into visual attributes. One of the areas that I currently most enjoy exploring is the use of attributes of shape to encode data. Here’s a slight reworking of one of my favorites: a 10 dimensional shape (each of the 5 lobes encodes 2 attributes via the lobe twist and lobe bulge):
Image
Even with 10 different variables encoded in shape patterns of similarity are apparent, e.g. similarly shaped ‘stars’ can be seen, e.g. Sears, Target and TJX (all department stores). Hopefully this little example shows that there is much more to investigate in the design space of data visualizations.   

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About richardbrath

Richard is a long time visualization designer and researcher. Professionally, I am one of the partners of Uncharted Software Inc. I am also pursuing a part-time PhD in data visualization at LSBU. The opinions on this blog are related to my personal interests in data visualization, particularly around research interests related to my PhD work- this blog is about exploratory aspects of data visualization not proven principles.
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