Visualization is often described in the context of speed and efficiency. Get the most insight for the least amount of ink or pixels. Elijah Meeks argues that visualization goes far beyond this point of view:
This breakneck pace is a real data visualization constraint. It’s not a myth that charts are often deployed in rooms full of people who only have a short time to comprehend them (or not) and make a decision. Automatic views into datasources are a critical aspect of exploratory data analysis and health checks. The fast mode of data visualization is real and important, but when we let it become our only view into what data visualization is, we limit ourselves in planning for how to build, support and design data visualization. We limit not only data visualization creators but also data visualization readers.
In the three-parter, Meeks tries to make the fuzzy aspects of visualization — meaning, insight, impact, etc. — more concrete.
- Visualization spectrum
- Ben Fry on visualization and data literacy
- Eric Rodenbeck on what visualization is for
- Book genres for visualization
- Information Visualization Manifesto
- Fast Thinking and Slow Thinking Visualisation
Note the dates on all of them. We’ll figure out this visualization thing one of these days.