Datum Ipsum: Designing real-time visualizations with realistic placeholder data
Matthew Ström
1997

Perlin noise is a great way to get random data, and sometimes placeholder data can be useful as a design tool. But I didn’t agree with your reasons for why we shouldn’t use the real data!

  1. Data IS OFTEN hard to understand, but isn’t it the job of the designer to create a visualization that explains it simply?
  2. By using placeholder data, aren’t you taking a shortcut, and not really testing whether or not the visualization works the way you expect it will?
  3. If the real data won’t work for the client presentation, why would it work for end users?
  4. Using real data can be a great litmus test. “Does this actually work the way I expect it will?” “What happens when the data points include outliers?”

These are just some initial thoughts. I definitely use perlin noise on occasion for charts, but I just think that real data makes a lot more sense to use whenever possible.

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