Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chartjunk or Communication?

EagerEyes recently posted about a study investigation the memorability of graphics and data. That brings to mind my earlier thoughts about communication. You may have the best data in the world but if it's not communicated well, then you've missed the target. I suppose which path you take depends on your audience.

When you're presenting to an audience of a similar backround or perhaps more knowledgeable about that data than yourself, minimize chartjunk and seek to present the data in as unbiased a manner as possible.

When you're the expert and are seeking to communicate the results of your interpretation, resist the "curse of knowledge" and incorporate some of the suggestions from Made to Stick to increase the memorability of the results and analysis. A perfect data presentation following Tufte's guidance may not be the optimal solution.

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