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Task-Based Effectiveness of Visualizations

Adrian Colyer summarizes an interesting IEEE paper:

So far this week we’ve seen how to create all sorts of fantastic interactive visualisations, and taken a look at what data analysts actually do when they do ‘exploratory data analysis.’

To round off the week today’s choice is a recent paper on an age-old topic: what visualisation should I use?

No prizes for guessing “it depends!”

…the effectiveness of a visualization depends on several factors including task at the hand, and data attributes and datasets visualized.

Is this the paper to finally settle the age-old debate surrounding pie-charts??

The results were very interesting, though as an official Pie Chart Hater, I would point out that in none of their results was a pie chart ever better than a bar/column chart. There are cases where it works out okay, but if it’s never better and often worse than something, I’d rather use the alternative.