Design  / 

Gestalt principles for visualization

Apr 3, 2015

GestaltGestalt refers to our ability to see a whole from the parts, and it’s why visualization works. Otherwise, we wouldn’t see patterns (or lack of them).

Elijah Meeks describes some of the principles — similarity, proximity, and enclosure — in a quick demo used in a recent talk. Meeks argues, “Effective design and implementation of more complex data visualization that relies on enclosure (like treemaps and circle packing) and other gestalt principles not covered in this short essay can only happen if you are aware of the signals those graphics are sending.” Otherwise, you might show something completely different, unintentionally.

Favorites

How to Spot Visualization Lies

Many charts don’t tell the truth. This is a simple guide to spotting them.

Life expectancy changes

The data goes back to 1960 and up to the most current estimates for 2009. Each line represents a country.

How You Will Die

So far we’ve seen when you will die and how other people tend to die. Now let’s put the two together to see how and when you will die, given your sex, race, and age.

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but …