Chapter 2 Reading Response —

Chapter 2 of Wong’s books touched on how to effectively chart data in “smart” way that communicates to the readers. She touches on the use for each type graph or chart — line graphs should be used to graph trends or represent a variable or more over time. Or that a bar graph should can be used to show how much a variable is worth. There’s an emphasis on the “tiny things” that may be easy to disregard, but they really are responsible for making or breaking the visual. For instance, the importance of what the x and y axis should stand for as well as how the information is conveyed to the audience. Bars and lines can be too narrow or to dark/light that for the sake of the appearance of the chart. The reading reconfirmed some info I already knew about charts… For example, that the baseline of any graph should start at zero and increase in an orderly fashion. She also stresses the rules to follow for vertical bars which I tried to incorporate into my homework assignment: making sure the bars are even and of same width. As I mentioned in my last post for the response to chapter 1 of this book, there are plenty of visuals that I see on the day-to-day basis that are confusing and incorrect according to Wong’s standards, and now I understand why. Oftentimes, charts will have bar charts positioned in a horizontal fashion rather than vertical which can be difficult for the reader to compare. Alongside this, it seems like pie charts are something that people tend to get wrong as well! I’ve always tried to steer clear of pie charts for the reasons Wong mentions: it can be hard to determine what is what. The slicing can also get wonky and not an accurate representation of the original data. Moving forward, it can be tempting to do all of what Wong stresses not to do. However, it’s important to put my self in the shoes of the reader and think: what’s the best way to visually represent my data.

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