Melvin's digital garden

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Graphical excellence

is that which gives to the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time with the least ink in the smallest space.

show the data

emphasize the substance rather than the methodology

avoid distorting what the data have to say

present many numbers in a small space

make large data sets coherent

encourage the eye to compare different pieces of data

reveal data at several levels of detail

serve a clear purpose

close integrated with statistical and verbal descrtiptions of a data set

Graphical integrity

representation of numbers should be directly proportional to numerical quantities

clear, detailed and thorough labeling should be used

show data variation, not design variation

the number of information-carrying dimensions should not exceed the number of dimensions in the data

graphics must not quote data out of context

Theory of data graphics

above all else show the data (data ink ratio)

maximize the data ink ratio, within reason

erase non-data-ink, within reason

erase redundant data-ink, note that sometimes redundancy can give additional context

revise and edit

forgot chartjunk (moire vibration, the grid, and the duck

data density and small multiples

prefer horizontal graphics, about 50 percent wider than tall

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