My Review of Designing Data Visualizations

Originally submitted at O’Reilly

Intentional Communication from Data to Display

Data Visualization …Visualized Badly

By That Ontology Guy from Fredericton, NB on 3/2/2012


2out of 5

Pros: Easy to understand, Concise

Cons: Not comprehensive enough, Too basic

Best Uses: Student

First with the positives: It is a good introductory read into the subject. An average person could likely read in under an hour and take away some basics. (I read it on the bus on the way home). I would immediately recommend reading some of the many references listed for more detailed information. I did like the distinction between data visualizations that are largely one-off builds that almost require a project in themselves to create versus basic effective visualizations. Most people only have time for the basic visualizations. Missing was a description of how some people “jazz” up graphics bar charts by making them “3-D” but effectively making it too hard to compare the data.

Now the negatives: 1. I received this book as a reviewers copy in hard copy. I wish I would have had the PDF because the 32 pages of color graphics (for only a 93 page book) meant I immediately had to find a color printer to print them off so I could really understand them. The book size dimensions also really limited their size and thus their interpretability.

With the introductory nature of the subject coverage and the color demands and size demands of the figures, I feel this book would have made a great web-site. As it stands, it is a basic primer good for a school or public library.


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